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Introduction to Desert Geology

Geology

1.7 billion year old crystalline basement rock, Death Valley
All three families of rock are evident in the Mojave Desert igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. The earliest rock, related to the metamorphic gneiss and schist at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, has little exposure in the Mojave, but can be seen at Saddle Island in Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA) and parts of Death Valley National Park (NP). Changed from preexisting rock by immense temperature and/or pressure (without melting), this metamorphic rock is ancient from the Precambrian Era, formed about 1.6 to 1.8 billion years ago.

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