Geology of the Eastern Sierra Nevada


The Eastern Sierra Nevada boasts a rich geological history that spans millions of years. This region offers a captivating glimpse into Earth’s past, from towering granite peaks to ancient volcanic formations. The fascinating geology of the Eastern Sierra Nevada and its unique features make it a geologist’s paradise.

Formation of the Sierra Nevada Range:

The Sierra Nevada Range, including the Eastern Sierra Nevada, began forming around 100 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era. It was the result of tectonic plate movements, specifically the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate. This process resulted in the uplifting and folding of the Earth’s crust, giving rise to the majestic mountain range we see today.

Granite and Glaciers:

One of the defining features of the Eastern Sierra Nevada is its abundance of granite. The region is home to the largest exposed granite batholith in the world, aptly named the Sierra Nevada Batholith. This enormous body of intrusive igneous rock formed deep beneath the Earth’s surface and was gradually exposed through erosion over millions of years.

During the last Ice Age, glaciers sculpted the Eastern Sierra Nevada, leaving behind stunning landscapes. Glacial activity carved out U-shaped valleys, polished granite surfaces and created glacial lakes such as Mono Lake and Convict Lake. These remnants of the Ice Age are a testament to the dynamic forces that shaped the region.

Volcanic Activity:

Eastern Sierra Nevada is also home to a number of volcanic features. The Long Valley Caldera, located just east of the Sierra Nevada Range, is a prime example of volcanic activity in the region. This massive volcanic depression formed around 760,000 years ago during a cataclysmic eruption that released an estimated 600 cubic kilometers of magma.

Within the caldera lies the famous Mono-Inyo Craters, a chain of volcanic domes and craters. These volcanic formations offer a glimpse into the region’s volcanic history and provide evidence of past eruptions that have shaped the landscape.

Mineral Deposits:

The Eastern Sierra Nevada is known for its rich mineral deposits. Gold, silver, and copper have been mined in the region since the mid-1800s, attracting prospectors during the California Gold Rush. The Bodie State Historic Park, a well-preserved ghost town, stands as a reminder of the mining boom that once thrived in the area.


Exploring the geology of Eastern Sierra Nevada is a journey through time, where the forces of nature have sculpted a remarkable landscape. This region offers a glimpse into the Earth’s fascinating geological history, from the towering granite peaks to the remnants of ancient volcanoes. Whether you are a geology enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, Eastern Sierra Nevada is a destination that will leave you in awe of the Earth’s geological wonders.

(c) Walter Feller

Geology of the Lower Colorado River


The Lower Colorado River is a mesmerizing natural wonder that winds through the Southwestern United States, attracting millions of visitors annually. Beyond its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities, the geology of the Lower Colorado River offers a fascinating glimpse into the Earth’s history.

Formation of the Lower Colorado River:

The formation of the Lower Colorado River can be traced back millions of years. It all began with the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, a vast region spanning parts of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Over time, the relentless forces of erosion, primarily by the Colorado River, carved through sedimentary rock layers, exposing unique geological formations.

Canyons and Gorges:

One of the most striking features along the Lower Colorado River is the presence of deep canyons and gorges. The river has carved its way through layers of sedimentary rocks, primarily sandstones, and shales, creating stunning landscapes such as the Grand Canyon and the Black Canyon of the Colorado. These canyons offer a glimpse into the Earth’s history, with each layer representing a different period of deposition.

Rock Formations:

The Lower Colorado River area is renowned for its diverse rock formations. The region showcases various sedimentary rocks, including sandstone, limestone, and shale. These rocks provide clues about ancient environments and the processes that shaped them. Fossilized remains of plants and animals can also be found within these rock formations, offering insights into past ecosystems.

Geological Time Scale:

To truly appreciate the geology of the Lower Colorado River, it is essential to understand the concept of geological time. The river has been actively shaping the landscape for millions of years, leaving behind a rich tapestry of rocks and formations. By studying the various layers, geologists can piece together the history of the region, including ancient climates, sea levels, and tectonic events.


The geology of the Lower Colorado River is a captivating subject that offers a glimpse into the Earth’s past. From towering canyons to diverse rock formations, this region tells a story of millions of years of geological processes. Exploring the Lower Colorado River is a visual delight and an opportunity to unravel the mysteries of our planet’s ancient history. So, the next time you find yourself near the Lower Colorado River, take a moment to appreciate the remarkable geology that surrounds you.

(c) Walter Feller

Geology of Death Valley


View of Death Valley from Chloride Cliff

Death Valley National Park is known for its extreme temperatures, vast desert landscapes, and unique geological features. Located in Eastern California, this national park is a treasure trove for geology enthusiasts.

Formation and Tectonic Activity:

Death Valley’s geological history dates back millions of years. The valley is part of the larger Basin and Range Province, characterized by its numerous mountain ranges and elongated valleys. The formation of Death Valley can be attributed to the complex interplay of tectonic forces.

Faults and Uplift:

One of the key geological features of Death Valley is the presence of faults. Numerous faults, including the prominent Death Valley Fault Zone, crisscross the region. These faults have played a significant role in shaping the landscape, creating dramatic uplifts and sinkholes.

Playa and Salt Flats:

Death Valley is home to several unique geological features, including expansive salt flats and playa. The salt flats, such as the mesmerizing Badwater Basin, are formed when water dissolves minerals from the mountains and then evaporates, leaving behind a thick crust of salt. These salt flats provide a surreal and otherworldly experience for visitors.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes:

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes offer a striking contrast to the arid landscape of Death Valley. These dunes are formed by the accumulation of wind-blown sand over thousands of years. The shifting dunes create stunning desert scenery and are a popular destination for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

Geological Time and Fossils:

Death Valley is a geological time capsule, preserving a rich fossil record that spans millions of years. Fossils of ancient marine life, plants, and animals have been discovered, providing invaluable insights into the region’s past. These fossils tell the story of a time when Death Valley was submerged under a vast inland sea.

Volcanic Features:

Volcanic activity has also left its mark on Death Valley’s geology. The park is home to several cinder cones, lava flows, and volcanic craters. Ubehebe Crater, a massive volcanic crater, is a testament to the violent eruptions that occurred in the region thousands of years ago.


Death Valley National Park is a geologist’s paradise, offering a glimpse into the dynamic forces that have shaped our planet. From the towering mountain ranges to the vast salt flats and mesmerizing sand dunes, the geology of Death Valley is a testament to nature’s immense power and beauty. Exploring this unique landscape is a humbling experience that allows us to appreciate the Earth’s geological history and its ongoing processes of change and transformation.

(c)Walter Feller

Mojave Desert Geology


Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park

The Mojave Desert, located in the southwestern United States, is known for its vast arid landscape and unique geological formations. Let us now look at Mojave Desert geology. We will explore its history, distinctive landforms, and the forces that have shaped this remarkable desert ecosystem.

Ancient History:

Afton Canyon, Mojave River

The geological history of the Mojave Desert dates back millions of years. It was formed through a complex interplay of tectonic forces, erosion, and climatic changes. The Mojave Desert is part of the Basin and Range Province, characterized by alternating mountain ranges and valleys. Over time, these forces have sculpted the desert’s diverse topography, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of geological wonders.

Distinctive Landforms:

Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve

The Mojave Desert is home to many distinctive landforms that capture geologists’ and nature enthusiasts’ imaginations. One such feature is the Mojave River, which runs through the heart of the desert, shaping its landscape and supporting its own ecosystem. Another notable landform is the Kelso Dunes, towering sand dunes that shift and change with the wind, creating an ever-changing desert scene.

Example of faulting and jointing in granite. Geology Tour Road #6, Joshua Tree National Park
Geology Tour Road stop #6, Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, located within the Mojave Desert, is renowned for its iconic Joshua trees, which dot the barren landscape. These trees are adapted to the harsh desert environment and symbolize resilience in the face of adversity. The park also boasts mesmerizing rock formations, such as Hidden Valley and Jumbo Rocks, which showcase the desert’s ancient geological past.

Forces of Shaping:

Rainbow Basin photo
Rainbow Basin, Barstow, Ca.

Several key forces have shaped the Mojave Desert’s geological landscape. The San Andreas Fault, a major tectonic boundary, runs through the region, causing periodic earthquakes and contributing to the uplift of mountain ranges. Erosion, primarily driven by wind and water, has significantly sculpted the desert’s landforms, creating deep canyons, rugged cliffs, and intricate rock formations.

Amargosa River
Amargosa River

The climate also shapes the Mojave Desert’s geology. The region experiences extreme temperature fluctuations, with scorching hot summers and chilly winters. These temperature extremes and sporadic rainfall contribute to rock weathering and erosion and the formation of unique geological features.


West Fork, Mojave River
West Fork, Mojave River

The Mojave Desert stands as a testament to the immense power of geological forces and the intricate beauty they can create. From its ancient history to its distinctive landforms, the desert offers a glimpse into the Earth’s ever-evolving landscape. As we explore the Mojave Desert’s geology, we gain a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders that surround us and the forces that have shaped them over millions of years.

Walter Feller’s Digital Desert: An Oasis of Limitless Creativity


In the vast realm of digital art, few artists can claim to have revolutionized the medium quite like Walter Feller’s. With his groundbreaking project, aptly named the “Digital Desert,” Feller has created a virtual oasis of creativity that pushes the boundaries of what is possible in the digital art world. In this post, we will explore the captivating world of Walter Feller’s Digital Desert and delve into the mesmerizing beauty that lies within.

Unveiling the Digital Desert:

The Digital Desert is not just a collection of digital artworks but an immersive experience that transports viewers into a realm where reality and imagination blend seamlessly. Feller has meticulously crafted a vast landscape within the digital realm, using his exceptional technical skills and boundless artistic vision. The result is a breathtaking desert expanse teeming with life-like sand dunes, majestic rock formations, and an ever-changing sky that mimics nature’s nuances.

Exploring the Creative Oasis:

Within the Digital Desert, Feller’s creativity knows no bounds. It is a space where traditional artistic techniques merge with innovative digital tools. Each artwork within the Digital Desert is an awe-inspiring masterpiece, meticulously crafted with attention to detail and an unwavering dedication to perfection. From hyper-realistic portraits to abstract landscapes, Feller’s artistry encompasses a vast array of styles and themes, leaving viewers captivated and inspired.

The Role of Technology:

Feller’s Digital Desert would not be possible without the advancements in technology that have paved the way for digital art to flourish. Through his mastery of digital tools, Feller has harnessed the power of software and hardware to create art that pushes the boundaries of imagination. The Digital Desert serves as a testament to the limitless possibilities that technology offers to artists, allowing them to bring their visions to life in ways that were once unimaginable.

Impact and Influence:

Walter Feller’s Digital Desert has garnered widespread acclaim and has left an indelible mark on the digital art community. His work has inspired countless artists to explore digital art possibilities and opened up new avenues for creative expression. Feller’s unique ability to seamlessly blend traditional artistry with cutting-edge technology has set a new standard in the world of digital art, making him a true pioneer in the field.


Walter Feller’s Digital Desert is a testament to the power of human creativity and the boundless possibilities within the digital realm. Through his awe-inspiring artworks, Walter Feller has created a virtual oasis that captivates viewers and pushes the boundaries of what is possible in the world of digital art. The Digital Desert is a testament to Feller’s unparalleled talent, technical skill, and unwavering dedication to his craft. As we venture further into the digital age, the legacy of Walter Feller and his Digital Desert will undoubtedly continue to inspire and shape the future of art.

Wrong-Way River

by walter feller

Mojave River

In 1852 a survey was made of the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert. The Old Spanish Trail # had become a wagon road bringing thousands of pioneers to the west and developed as a supply route between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. The survey was as accurate as any at that time and followed the trail from near the top of the Cajon Pass to a point where the trail leaves the Mojave River near Fishponds. The trail to Salt Lake continues north as we know it, but the river flowing east on this map bears southeast and empties into the Colorado River. At the time it was thought the Mojave (spelled Mohahve on the map) River followed this course. It did not. There was no Mojave Road in 1852 and not many Americans had traversed that portion of the desert. As we now know the Mojave River cuts through Afton Canyon and then disappears into the sink of the Mojave before it reaches Soda Lake.

The Williamson survey the next year in 1853 begins to correct the true ancient course of the river as it would have found its way to converge with the Amargosa River and empty into Death Valley’s Lake Manly via Soda Lake, Silver Lake, Silurian Lake, and Salt Springs.

-End –

Soggy Dry Lake

Soggy Dry LakeJohnson Valley

Playa formation – “A playa is a dry, vegetation-free, flat area at the lowest part of an undrained desert basin. It is a location where ephemeral lakes form during wet periods, and is underlain by stratified clay, silt, and sand, and commonly, soluble salts. Playas occur in intermountain basins throughout the arid southwestern United States. Although playas may appear as featureless plains, they are rich in features and characteristics that can reveal information about climates, past and present. “