Death Valley Geology

This page will showcase some of the best geological sites in California. The Death Valley Region displays some of the best examples of fault block mountains (with detachment faulting), pluvial lakes (Lake Manly), alluvial fans, salt pans, and even volcanic activity.

Most geologic eras are represented in the rocks there. I have taken many trips there, and spent quite a bit of time studying the geology. My favorite locations are Gower Gulch, Badwater, and the Salt Springs area.

The valley also holds records such as the lowest point in the western hemisphere (-282′ at Badwater Basin) and the hottest place on Earth at 134F. This last record was established on July 10, 1913 at Furnace Creek, there were no thermometers at Badwater Basin, some 90′ lower. There, temperatures most likely were around 140F!

Map Courtesy - Alex Nitzman
Map Courtesy – Alex Nitzman

To Get There:

SR-190 is the main route through the park. It comes from US 395 near Olancha and heads east / southeast through the valley via Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek to Death Valley Junction where it ends at SR-127. Best access is from the south via another roadway – the Trona – Wildrose Road. This roadway follows Wildrose Canyon, then heads over Emigrant Pass, meeting Hwy 190 about halfway from the summit of Towne’s Pass and Stovepipe Wells. This road does have a short section of dirt, and a section of poorly maintained pavement. The bonus is lighter traffic, and an easier grade over the Panamint Mountains.

Southern Death Valley: (Jubilee Pass to Badwater)

Central Death Valley: (Stovepipe Wells south to Badwater)

Northern Death Valley: (Stovepipe Wells to Grapevine Canyon)

Outside Death Valley but within the park:

  • Emigrant Canyon / Wildrose Canyon Area
  • Panamint Valley
  • Towne Pass

Copyright 2007-2017 by Michael Ballard

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Your Resource For Highways, Geology, Railroads, History, Bicycling, And More Throughout Southern California Since 1995.

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