Tall Tales From The Field

Posts tagged “Desert

Buttes, Plateaus and Mesas- What’s the Difference?

The images below shot last week along the Arizona/Utah border show buttes, plateaus and mesas, geologic land forms that permeate America’s Desert Southwest. In general terms, buttes are smaller than mesas and mesas are smaller than plateaus. Buttes were probably once mesas but shrunk in size due to erosion. Plateaus are bigger than both mesas and buttes. But specific sizes of each land form are not normally defined.

 

Mesas, Buttes and Plateaus make up the landscape near Fredonia, Arizona

 

 

 

Storm clouds hover over Gooseberry Mesa in Southern Utah. The smaller hills at the base can be categorized as buttes.

 

 

 

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Desert Flora at Sunset

While mountain biking this week near Gooseberry Mesa in Southern Utah, I captured some pics over a few evenings of the changing colors of the flora and the sunsets.

 

 

 

 


Glen Canyon Moonrise/Sunset

Glen Canyon is that canyon that pretty much disappeared once construction started on the Glen Canyon Dam in 1956. It was finished in 1966. But the Colorado River was backed up into the canyon which later formed Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. There still is a canyon but not nearly as deep as it was.  The two images here were shot within 5 minutes of each other. More images from the area to follow.

 


Leftovers From Death Valley

Leftovers can be good. Like pizza or Chinese food, leftovers may be better than the originals.

 

Visitors explore the Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes at Death Valley National park, California

Visitors explore the Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California. I don’t walk on these dunes because of the extreme foot traffic it receives. Doesn’t make for good photos except from a distance.

The Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes at Death Valley National park, California

 

Wide Valleys and tall mountain peaks are the predominate features at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley National Park, California

The Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley rents for a cool $499 per night. They also charge a $13.44 per day resort fee. Really?

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Cottonball Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Brightly colored rock formations make up the landscape at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Palm trees survive in the Furnace Creek area of Death Valley National Park, California

 

Rugged mountains line Badwater Basin At Death Valley National Park, Calfirornia

 

The bright colors of Mustard Hills at death Valley National Park, California

The bright colors of Mustard Hills at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Vegetation grows on the sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Funky clouds pass over California's Death Valley National Park.


Death Valley’s Panamint Valley

Another large valley at Death Valley National Park is Panamint Valley. It is 65 miles long and up to 10 miles wide and stretches from Panamint Dunes, located inside the park, to the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center. It is also home to the Barker Ranch, infamous as the temporary home of the Charles Manson gang in the late 1960s.

 

The wide expanse and elevation changes are the predominant features at Panamint Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Wide expanses and elevation changes are the predominant features at Panamint Valley. That’s snow-covered Telescope Peak, at 11,043 feet, the highest point in Death Valley NP.

 

Wide Valleys and tall mountain peaks are the predominate features at Death Valley National Park, California

The main road meanders through the valley and has some incredible elevation changes.

 

Panamint Dunes were formed when high winds forced sand into the north end of Panamint Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Panamint Dunes was formed when high winds forced sand into the north end of Panamint Valley.

 

Brightly colored Zinc Hill in the Argus Range at Death Valley Natioal Park, California

Brightly colored Zinc Hill in the Argus Range.

 

The wide expanse and elevation changes are the predominant features at Panamint Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Wide Valleys and tall mountain peaks are the predominate features at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Wide Valleys and tall mountain peaks are the predominate features at Death Valley National Park, California

 

 


The Remote Eureka Valley

Eureka Valley is located within Death Valley National Park and was added to the park when Death Valley became a national park in 1994. Death Valley NP is now the largest national park in the lower 48 states at over 3.3 million acres, 50% more than Yellowstone. Ninety One per cent of the park is designated wilderness and Eureka Valley is definitely wilderness. It is approximately 28 miles long and up to 10 miles wide. Eureka Valley could be its own national park. The valley is known for its soaring sand dunes, the colorful Last Chance Range and views to the snow-capped White Mountains that reach some 14,000 feet into the air.

 

Clouds pass over Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Clouds pass over Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Texas Spring, Marble Canyon, Cottonwood Canyon, Stovepipe Wells Village, Stovepipe Wells Dunes, Devil's Cornfield, Scotty's Castle, Ubehebe Crater, Crankshaft Junction, Eureka Dunes. We camped at Eureka Dunes. 164 miles, 10 hours 24 minutes

Eureka Valley, upper left on map, is a 2 hour drive from the center of Death Valley NP, mostly on dirt and gravel roads.

 

Fog envelops the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

Colorful strata are the predominate feature of the aptly named Last Chance Range.

 

The brightly colored sedimentary layers of the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The snow-covered White Mountains as seen from Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

The snow-covered White Mountains as seen from Eureka Valley.

 

Threatening clouds pass over Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Lazy clouds pass over Eureka Valley.

 

A nearly full moon rises through the clouds over Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

A full moon lights up the landscape over Eureka Dunes.

 

High winds kick up dust at Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

High winds kick up sand at Eureka Valley and eventually settles at the south end where the dunes reside.

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

The dunes rise up to 700 feet, amongst the tallest in North America.

 

The road to Eureka Dunes ar Death Valley National Park, California

The dunes look rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

 

Threatening clouds pass over Eureka Valley during sunset at Death Valley National Park, California

Sunset over the valley.

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

It’s amazing that anything grows or survives here.

 

Mammals burrow into the sand at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

Small mammals survive here by burrowing into the sand for relief. These nests are home to the kangaroo rat.

 

Threatening clouds pass over Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Rain makes an occasional appearance at Death Valley, but only a few inches annually.

Threatening clouds pass over Eureka Valley during sunset at Death Valley National Park, California

 


It Never Rains In Death Valley

Well, almost, it did a little this past Friday. Death Valley only receives 2 inches per year, mostly in the winter. In a lot of locations in this world, you can receive 2 inches of rain in less than an hour.  The storm clouds gave Death Valley National Park a look I normally don’t see. The clouds and filtered sunlight produced some memorable images.

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Passing storm clouds filter sunlight on the landscape at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 


Paria Clay Beds

Also known in geologic terms as the Chinle Formation located at Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. This spot is located at the old Paria Movie Set where The Outlaw Josie Wales was filmed. I half expected Clint Eastwood to come walking out of the landscape. These were shot an hour or two before sunset and with the clouds, made for some great light!

 

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful clay beds are revealed from erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful Chinle Formation clay beds are revealed from erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

Colorful clay beds of the Chinle Formation are revealed due to erosion at the The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah


One Amazing Little Rainbow

Caught this rainbow dancing along the desert floor near Marble Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. It played with the monsoonal clouds passing through to provide some abstract images. A time lapse video of this rainbow and surrounding storms will follow soon.  These images are available as prints or downloadable files for personal use at Dawn2dawnPhotography.com

A rainbow appears during a thunderstorm at Marble Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

A rainbow appears during a thunderstorm at Marble Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

 

A rainbow appears during a thunderstorm at Marble Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

 

A rainbow appears during a thunderstorm at Marble Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

 

A rainbow appears during a thunderstorm at Marble Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

 

A rainbow appears during a thunderstorm at Marble Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

Just before the rainbow disappeared.


Colors of The Grand Canyon

Mineral deposits and vegetation produce various colors in The Grand Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

 

The Grand Canyon as seen from Cape Final

 

The Grand Canyon as seen from Cape Final

 

The Grand Canyon as seen from Cape Final