Monday, April 23, 2012

Mosaic Canyon

Near our campsite at Stovepipe Wells is the beautiful Mosaic Canyon.  Mosaic Canyon is the result of a fault in the Tucki Mountain that channeled water through this area for centuries -- forming the canyon as it slowly eroded the rock.  The canyon gets its name from the mosaic breccia (Italian word that means fragments).  

According to the National Park Service about Mosaic Canyon, "This formation is composed of angular fragments of many different kinds of parent rock, and it can be seen on the floor of the canyon just south of the parking area. The most common rock formation in the canyon is the Noonday Dolomite. This limestone is rich in magnesium and formed 750 to 900 million years ago when the area was part of the Pacific Ocean. This sedimentary material was later buried to great depths by younger materials and was subjected to pressures and temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, much of the limestone was altered, or metamorphosed, into marble. Subsequent uplift and erosion have since re-exposed these metamorphic rocks."

What this means for the casual hiker is an amazing hike through lovely rock that looks a lot like light pink and sand-colored marble.  In some places the rock has been so smoothed that you can literally slide down it!  So much fun was had by us and everyone else on the trail.  

And yes, there were people everywhere, but if you walk more than a mile down any trail, you can lose them.  That is why it looks like we had Death Valley to ourselves in my photos.  There were a lot of people there, they just stuck to the parking lots.  

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