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Geology of the National Parks - Death Valley


Technical Resource Page Death Valley National Park

Sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells.

Sand Dunes Near Stovepipe Wells

These stationary sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells have resulted from winds blowing down Death Valley from the north, over Emigrant Pass from the west, and along Furnace Creek Wash from the east, all colliding in the middle of Mesquite Flat and dropping their load of sand. Standing about 200 ft high, the dunes barely top sea level in elevation. A bedrock high to the south (left) ponds ground water draining into Mesquite Flat and has allowed the relatively profuse growth of Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), Screwbean Mesquite (Prosopis pubescens), Arrowweed (Pluchea sericea), and many other desert plants. This growth of vegetation allowed Native Americans to hunt and forage in the flats at least 9,000 years ago. The ponded ground water has also deposited borate and nitrate minerals at the northern margin of Mesquite Flat.

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