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Rock Formations - Cajon Pass

Mormon Rocks

Mormon Rocks rock formation in the Cajon Pass
click the photo to view the slideshow

Mormon Rocks located about 1 mile west of the Interstate 15 freeway north of highway 138 is recognizable to nearly everyone who has ever traveled the freeway from the Cajon Pass to Las Vegas. These familiar formations appear to welcome travelers to the Mojave Desert.

The sandstone was pushed up by a sub-fault of the San Andreas fault and further revealed by the Mojave Block changing direction in slope toward Death Valley rather than the ocean.

Older maps of the area show the formation as being called the Rock Candy Mountains. Local legend has it that the rocks were named for the Mormon pioneers who camped here after their descent from the pass ridgeline. In actuality, there was no reason for them to camp at these rocks where there was no water here with the nearest spring being only one mile further down the canyon.

Another legend calls the rocks the 'Chanting Rocks,' as when the wind would blow across the portholes in the rocks it was said the sound made was similar to a low chanting or singing.

Since the color and composition appears to be the same as the rocks at the Devil's Punchbowl, 35 miles to the west, it has been suggessted that both were once the same and that with movement along the San Andreas these two formations were split apart. Scientific examination of fossils found between the two show that they are two separate formations.

Ecology

Southern California Mountains and Valleys: San Gorgonio Mountains
This subsection comprises the lower and warmer parts of the San Bernardino Mountains, which are between the southern branch of the San Andreas fault on the south-southwest and the Mojave Desert on the north. ...

Southern California Mountains and Valleys: San Gabriel Mountains
This subsection comprises the lower and warmer parts of the San Gabriel Mountains, which are between the San Andreas fault on the north-northeast and the Los Angeles and Fontana Plains on the south. ...

Mojave Desert: High Desert Plains and Hills
This subsection consists of the western Mojave Desert, which is mostly alluvial plain and pediment, with relatively small areas of hills and low mountains. ...

Also see:

Mormon Rocks Satellite Image

recreation - ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - 360 photos - glossary - comments

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Desert Gazette
090113-1978