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!
Thus, the geologic history of the Palouse indicates the formation of the landscape that we live on presently formed across a time span of millions of years. From the lava flows almost 17 million years ago to ash falls just recently in the 1980’s (Mt Saint Helens) the Palouse has been altered and shaped by a series of natural events.1.
The Little Missouri River eroding the mountain range is the reason that the park is as it looks today. The park is believed to be <60 million years old. Over 60 million years ago volcanos all over the west were erupting and spitting out amounts of ash. The rivers near the volcanos were gathering. The rivers began to dry out, leveeing the ash behind. The ash was being dried in layers and turned into sandstone, siltstone and mudstone while the ash layers became bentonite clay. This Bentonite clay is dangerous because it gets people stuck, like quick sand it is located throughout the park. It can pull the car tires un...
...the only major geologic event in the history of the Appalachians. Several glaciers have covered parts of the Northern Appalachians over the last three million years. (Appalachian tales) The mountains have been there ever since and that is how they were formed.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world. It was originally deposited sediment that was lithofied, and turned into sedimentary rock. The rock was then carved out by hydraulic processes (Warneke). These processes, all combined, took almost three to six million years to form the Grand Canyon. Continued erosion by wind and rain in the present time continues to shift what the canyon looks like, and make it different as time goes on ("Grand Canyon Facts").
The last basin in the Basin and Range before the Sierra Nevada Mountain range is the Mono Basin. The Mono Basin consists of landforms such as the Mono-Inyo Craters, Black Point, Negit Island, Paoha Island, Mono Lake, Devils Punch Bowl, Panum Crater, and some others (Hamburger et al; 2004). All of these landforms were created by volcanism. Actually, the Mono Basin is in one of the most volcanically active places in the world (Forest Service; 2004). Paoha Island, Negit Island, and Panum Crater are the most recent volcanoes to erupt, which are the furthest north in the basin. The volcanoes' ages tend to get older the further south they are from Panum Crater; with the exception of Paoha. Eruptions in the Mono Basin have tended to occur in five hundred year intervals over the past two thousand to three thousand years (Molossia; 2004). Hot springs and fumeroles and other signs show that this area is still active (USDA; 97). Though there has not been any volcanic eruptions in the last six hundred years, there is still evidence of volcanic unrest in the Mono Basin area. (The Picture above compliments of USGS).
The Grand Canyon has a lot of different features and is an exciting place that holds a lot of secretes and mysteries that scientists have been trying to figure out since the Grand Canyon was formed. It is millions of years old, over 277 miles wide, 18 miles wide, and defies many normal Geography features that are true in every other situation. Many theories have been presented that seek to explain the formation of the Grand Canyon. The first theory is that the Grand Canyon has a lot of Erosional Scarp Face’s, that have come together over the years, which is one theory that has been presented. Scientists have also tried to see if the Colorado River cutting into the canyon caused the Grand Canyon.
... which shaped the valley even more. Rockfall has shaped the Royal Arches and Mirror Lake. Recently in July of 1996, there was a large rock fall and in January of 1997 the Merced River flooded proving that the geology of Yosemite is a forever changing process that still goes on to this day. (Guyton)
During the Late Cretaceous a period of mountain building occurred along the west coast of North America. This is called the Laramide orogeny that started the Rocky Mountains growth about seventy-five million years ago. The Laramide orogeny was different from orogenies that had happened before hand. What caused the Laramide Orogeny is uncertain but there are many theories about what caused it. One big thing to better understand the Laramide orogeny is the theory of Uniformitarianism.
The beginning of the journey towards forming the first national park begins with a battalion in California, charged with the task of bringing the Native Americans onto reservations. During this trek, they came across a valley of immense beauty, and named it in what they believed was the Indian tribe’s name. They named it “Yosemite”, which later on was found to actually translate to “they are killers” (pbs.org, 2009) in the Native’s language. After a period of nine years, a photographer visited the park, accompanied by a land developer by the name of James Mason Hutching’s. His photos slowly made their way around the country, amazing people with the beauty of this piece of land. They called for its protection, even as the nation was slowly being torn apart by the civil war between the Union and Confederacy. With the Natives being pulled off of their land, the movement to save the lands they previously occupied was in danger. Niagara Falls in New York had already been nearly devastated, and Yosemite might be soon to follow in a short period of time, if Hutchings had his way. People gave back to the goal of protecting the land and towards building the national park system, but the man who truly brought this movement forward to create this first park was John Muir a naturalist who had studied “geology and botany at the University of Wisconsin” (pbs.org, 2009),
The geological processes that formed and continue to influence Mono Lake began approximately 215 million years ago when the Farallon sea floor plate began subducting, or pushing, under the North American plate. The North American plate was pushed over the sea floor plate by the force of the African and South American plates rifting apart. The friction from the North American plate rubbing against the Farallon plate melted some of the continental rocks, which then erupted in a long volcano chain, the Sierran Arc, stretching from Alaska to Mexico inland from the coast. Over time, the unerupted magma chambers from the Sierran Arc cooled into the granitic batholith that is the Sierra Nevadas (Tierney, 26-27).
...e morphed it into the quartzite that is seen surrounding the butte (4). Rocks that undergo this process are called metamorphic rock, which is the same as the rock seen years ago by dinosaurs and other extinct creatures. The quartzite rocks were formerly seafloor sediment that was forced upwards, and then surrounded by lava basalt flows. Once erupted through fissures and floods through out most of the area, lava flow eventually created enough basalt to form a thickness of about 1.8 kilometers (1). All of this basalt flow eventually led to the covering of most mountains, leaving the buttes uncovered. The igneous lava flows and loess is reasons that the Palouse consists of such sprawling hills, and rich soil for farming (2). In result of the lava flows, the Precambrian rock Quartzite was formed. And lastly covered by the glacial loess, which were carried by the wind.
Huber, N. King. "The Geologic Story of The Yosemite Valleys." United States Geological Survey. N.p., 13 Jan. 2004. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. .
Both field trips to Whitetop Mountain and Green Cove are located in the Blue Ridge province. When examining the rocks in that area the majority had been transferred or deposited from somewhere else, such as the conglomerate rocks and the Unicoi formation. Around 570 million years ago the formations such as the Konnarock and Unicoi they were depositing rocks/minerals such as: diamictite, siltstone, basalts and conglomerates glacially. After being deposited they proceeded to be, weathered, eroded, transferred and possibly compacted, or chemically changed such as dissolute, oxidized, hydrolyzed, or hydrated. After this process the rock could have been combined with many other minerals and rocks transforming it into another type of
In the 1800’s into the early 1900’s a man named John Muir began to explore the western American lands. He traveled down South and up North. But, when he reached Yosemite Valley, his life changed. As said in John Muir’s Wild America, written by Tom Melham, “Following the forest-lined mountain trails, Muir climbed higher into the Sierra Nevada: suddenly, a deep valley enclosed by colossal steeps and mighty water falls yawned before him. Spell bound, he entered Yosemite Valley” (79). Muir’s travels and adventures, highlighted in Melham’s book, explain this man’s love of the wilderness. Yosemite Valley was like a wide, open home to Muir, who, lived alone and discovered new landings and important later landmarks that create the aura of Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley was given to the state of California in 1864, part of the continuous idea of Manifest Destiny, later, in 1890; Yosemite became one of the first National Parks (“World Book”). Uniquely, the longer Muir stayed the more that he...