Zabriskie Point, Death Valley
GPS: 36.4200667, -116.8122303
Zabriskie Point is a part of the Amargosa Range located east of Death Valley in Death Valley National Park and noted for its erosional landscape. It is composed of sediments from Furnace Creek Lake, which dried up 5 million years ago long before Death Valley came into existence.
The location was named after Christian Brevoort Zabriskie, Vice-President and General Manager of the Pacific Coast Borax Company in the early 20th century. The company's twenty-mule teams were used to transport borax from its mining operations in Death Valley.
Millions of years prior to the actual sinking and widening of Death Valley Zabriskie point and the existence of Lake Manly, another lake covered a large portion of Death Valley including the area around Zabriskie Point. This ancient lake began forming approximately nine million years ago. During several million years of the lake's existence, sediments were collecting at the bottom in the form of saline muds, gravels from nearby mountains, and ash-falls from the then-active Black Mountain volcanic field. These sediments combined to form what we today call the Furnace Creek Formation.
Regional mountains building to the West influenced the climate to become more and more arid, causing the lake to dry up, and creating a dry lake. Subsequent widening and sinking of Death Valley and the additional uplift of today's Black Mountains tilted the area. This provided the necessary relief to accomplish the erosion that produced the badlands we see today. The dark-colored material capping the badland ridges is lava from eruptions that occurred three to five million years ago. This hard lava cap has retarded erosion in many places.
This text taken in part from Zabriske Point by multiply authors and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License