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Desert Geology

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Extinct Volcano

This section includes numerous sub-titles. Inlcuded are:

   The geology in the desert changes daily, whether it's caused by rain, wind, major slides, or earthquakes. Wind and rain probably have the biggest long term effect on the change in scenery in the desert. Geology data that could come in handy.

Alluvial Fan

Alluvial Fan    Your first question has to be, "what is an Alluvial Fan"? You've probably driven over one and didn't know it. Caused by rains and floods this is an interesting geologic feature in the desert.

Desert Varnish

   Would you like to add something to these articles? Maybe some photos, or information? We'd be pleased to hear from you. Any professionals that would like to offer help -- please do so, we'd love to hear from you too. Thanks. Contact us    e-mail
Desert Varnish     This chemical process has been changing the appearance of the desert for hundreds and thousands of years. So what is it? More info, photos and video.


Malpais     The Spanish settlers gave this land form its name. Most of these land forms are not negotiable by any means. Many of the Malpais are still unexplored to this day. Caves and ice caves are associtated with them.

Rocks, Minerals

Rocks, Minerals     This is NOT a complete listing of all the rocks and minerals you might find in the desert, there are just too many. We've tried to list and photograph a lot of the ones you are likely to run across in your travels. Some are used in jewelry.

Earthquake, Faults

Earthquake, Faults     Earthquakes change the geology in the desert in a snap. In its aftermath it often leaves behind Faults or Fault Lines. Earthquakes happen everyday here in the desert. Some go un-noticed, some are devastating.


Volcanoes     Mostly extinct, but the possibility of eruptions are quite real. Many volcanoes exist in the desert southwest and are often great landmarks.

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes     One of the remarkable geologic features in the desert. Usually a playground for off-roaders, campers and photographers.
   There is lot we didn't cover here, like the "Hoodoo" pictured to the right. There are other finds you may run into in the desert, like fossils and petrified wood, just to mention a couple. The above are features you will probably see in the desert even if you're not really looking for "geologic" features.