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Joshua Tree National Park - Mojave Ecozone:
Geology Tour Road:

Stop #13

Pleasant Valley Dry Lake

The upheaval of the Hexie Mountains with subsidence of the area north of the southern fault line, created a low area in which a periodic lake existed during a wetter climate. Sediments made of clays and sand were carried from nearby slopes and alluvial fans to be deposited at depths of several hundred feet. As time went on, and the lakebed rose, the slope extending from the canyons and alluvial deposits lessened. With this, finer silts and dissolved salts drying began to level the bottom of the valley creating what we see now as a dry lake, or playa. Although salt deposits here are not as obvious as in other desert dry lakes (where extremely few, or, no plants grow), evidence of the salt content can be seen in the presence of salt-tolerant plants species. Interestingly, after heavy rains, many dry lakes become temporary "wet" lakes.

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GLOSSARY > alluvial fan, dry lake, fault, playa, sediments

Dry Lakes of the Mojave

In desert basins, where rivers merge but do not drain, a dry lake bed or playa may ...

Looking south across the playa


Looking west across the playa
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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