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Zabriskie Point in Death Valley in Nevada at dawn with the sediments of Furnace Creek Lake




Zabriskie Point badlands in Death Valley with the sediments of Furnace Creek Lake at dawn


Zabriskie Dreams

Dawn in the Badlands at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley in Nevada immerses the landscape in a unique atmosphere. The wind reaches storm intensity to compensate for the extreme temperature differences between the hot valley floor and the rather cool air of the elevated surroundings. Deep majesty and a magical light spread across the valley.
The Badlands consist of hardened mud with a high amount of clay, which prevents the penetration of water. In this region, precipitation usually occurs during short but intense thunderstorms. This precipitation erosion forms the Badlands.
Nine million years ago, this area was covered by Furnace Creek Lake. Salty mud deposits with gravel from the weathering of the surrounding mountains and ash layers from the volcanic field of the Black Mountains deposited at its bottom. The climate was dry, but by no means as deadly hot as it is today. A large number of animals left their traces in the mud on the lake shore. Hot springs in the lake bed and volcanic activities altered the deposited sediments and caused their intense color variations.
In the course of the sinking of the Death Valley and the widening of the mountain ranges on both sides of the valley, the climate became ever hotter and drier. Five million years ago, Furnace Creek Lake finally dried up. The formation of the rift valley tilted the sediments and exposed the relief to accomplish the erosion during short but torrential thunderstorms to form the badlands.

August 2006
Canon 20D, EF-L 24-105mm, f/8, 30sec, ISO 100, polarization filter, tripod

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