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Death Valley National Park was Very Different in the Past Essay

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When one thinks of Death Valley National Park in California, the first image that comes to mind is usually an endless desert of dry, cracked terrain or rippling sand with little wildlife or vegetation. While that is what you’ll find in most of Death Valley today, it wasn’t always so. During the Holocene Eon and the Pleistocene ice ages, Death Valley had its fair share of streams and rivers, many of which originated from the nearby mountains. In fact, the driest area of Death Valley today was once an island! During that time, glaciers had formed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and water from the rivers cascaded into the area now known as Shoreline Butte, forming Lake Manly; a lake that was estimate to be almost 600 feet deep! The evidence of Lake Manly’s depth can be found in the flat terraces formed along the hillside which could only have formed after the lake level stabilized over a period of thousands of years.
Presently, visitors will only see small, salty pools of water in low lying areas of the park unless they’re lucky enough to visit just after a rare but significant rain storm. This is especially true in Badwater, where the height of the terrain in the area approximately -282 feet! Badwater is also home to some of the oldest rocks in the park. Found in the Black Mountains, visitors have the rare opportunity to see the physical evidence of our earth’s history, dating as far back as the Precambrian Eon, 1.8 billion years ago. During this time, volcanic and sediment rocks were infused with magma and then transformed into gneiss. At Titus Canyon in the Grapevine Mountains, the walls show evidence if limestone dating back to the Cambrian Era when Death Valley was not a parched desert but a thriving subtropical landscape!
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...he premises for National Parks like Death Valley that are not easily accessible. However, I do not feel there is a need for a resort swimming pool and golf course! You can golf and swim anywhere, but you can only experience the Earth’s geologic history at a handful of sites around the country. I also don’t feel that humans should be tapping into the beauty of the natural oasis in the park unless it’s a matter of survival. Human interaction could very well cause these natural springs to dry up in the future if they’re not looked after properly right now. The whole idea behind a National Park is to preserve the Earth’s history; natural springs included. If humans are allowed to continue doing things like diverting natural springs for their pleasure (i.e. filling a swimming pool), they could destroy the very nature these parks are attempting to preserve.



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