Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Badwater Region

Natural Bridge

BW4. Location/Access:
(36o 17.103’N, 116o 45.936’W) Natural Bridge is located about 5 miles north of Badwater and 15.4 miles south of Furnace Creek. The last several miles is a steep gravel road that can be negotiated by most vehicles. If the road is in severe condition, the gate at the bottom of the hill at the turn-off from the pavement may be closed. After you reach the parking area, it is about a 1/3 mile moderate hike to the natural bridge.

Best Time: Afternoon, all year.

Geology: Unlike the natural bridges of the Colorado Plateau which are carved out of hard sandstone, the natural bridge in this canyon is eroded in poorly indurated Pleistocene alluvial fan deposits. Thus, it is probably not long for this world and could collapse with any significant earthquake. It has noticeably eroded over the past 40 years. The bridge has been cut within an alluvial fan channel. This probably occurred as water seeped through the fan gravels under the canyon bottom, sapped the finer grained and precipitated materials and eventually opened a small passageway through which infrequent rain water could travel. As time passed, this passage enlarged and became the main channel bottom. At the mouth of the canyon, there is a good view of the Badwater turtleback surface and remains of the upper plate sediments are “schmeered” over the metamorphic complex. The actual contact can be accessed in the next small canyon south (Sharp & Glasner, 1997). There are also numerous small faults in the lower canyon wall gravels which reveal a down-to-the-west sense of motion.



ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments
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