Technical Details: Canon 5d MarkII, Canon 16-35mm @16mm, F/16, ISO100, 0.8 sec exposure, no filters
Welcome to today’s post. Zabriskie Point, in my previous post, has an interesting geological relationship to Badwater Basin. Millions of years prior to the actual sinking and widening of Death Valley, a lake covered a large portion of Death Valley including the area around Zabriskie Point. This ancient lake began forming approximately nine million years ago. During several million years of the lake’s existence, sediments were collecting at the bottom in the form of saline mud and gravel from nearby mountains, and ashfalls from the then-active Black Mountain volcanic field (From Wikipedia).
“Sediments collected…”. This is very important to the story. As you know, there is very little rain in Death Valley. The annual average is 2.36 inches. By comparison, Minneapolis averages over 26 inches a year. There isn’t much water in Death Valley. What little there is collects in basins like Badwater, but there is more to the story.
Badwater Basin is what geologists call an endorheic basin. Lake Superior is exorheic. Water flows in and it flows out through rain and snow fall, rivers, seepage through bedrock and evaporation. Its an open system. Badwater is a closed system, or endorheic. Water, all 2.36 inches a year, flows in through runoff from surrounding mountains full of saline mud and then just sits there. This makes sense since its the lowest point in the United States. Badwater is a closed system. Water has no way out except through evaporation. When that drop of water evaporates it leaves behind the salty mud. These sediments go through a cycle of freezing and baking which results in the quintessential patchwork salt formations you see in today’s images.
And check out this very recent story: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111227142623.htm . Apparently some scientists have found a special kind of magnetic microbe growing in the Badwater water that will be useful in the nanotechnology space. I don’t pretend to understand it; it just sounds really cool.
I hope you enjoy today’s images and post. If you do, feel free to click the Facebook Like at the top of the post or share the post to your wall through the Facebook bottom just below here. Thank you.