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Geology of the National Parks - Death Valley


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Golden Canyon stop 6

Evaporite minerals in mudstone beds White bands of evaporite minerals in mudstone beds. Photo by M. Moreno, USGS.

Evaporite Minerals

New mineral deposits are currently forming on the floor of Death Valley. Water carries dissolved sodium, chlorine, sulfur, calcium, boron and other elements that have been eroded from the surrounding mountains. The arid climate rapidly evaporates water from the valley floor, concentrating these elements into new minerals such as halite (table salt), gypsum, and borax. Today, the salt flats near Badwater or the Devil's Golf Course are excellent places to observe these interesting formations.

At this point in the your hike, you can see deposits of white minerals within the ancient lake deposits. These evaporite minerals formed in the past due to processes similar to those that are currently working on the floor of Death Valley.

Continue hiking up Golden Canyon

Furnace Creek Formation in time
geologic time scale
Continue up canyon... On to next stop If you're going... Golden Canyon image gallery
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