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Golden Canyon Geology Tour

An Abrasive Situation

In February 1976, a four-day storm dropped 2.3 inches of rain at Furnace Creek. On the last day of the storm, a violent downpour caused a surge of water, mud, and rock to flow through these narrows.

Such sediment-laden floods work like sandpaper, cutting away and undermining the rocky canyon walls. In narrows such as these, flood waters are constricted and the speed increases. If you look closely at the walls of the canyon. you will see a coating of mud that indicates the height of the water that has moved through these narrows.

Flash floods like these have been shaping the canyons of Death Valley for millions of years.

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GLOSSARY > abrasion, alluvial fan, canyon, flash flood, sediments, ,


Golden Canyon Geology Trail

  • Death Valley's Fan Club
  • An Abrasive Situation
  • Former Fans
  • The Restless Earth
  • Long Gone Lake
  • Ripples in Time
  • Salt of the Earth
  • A Recipe for Badlands
  • It's All Downhill
  • Red Cathedral


  • click the photo to continue

    Coating of mud on lower canyon wall shows storm water level
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