1157-Artist’s Drive – Death Valley, CA

It has to be fake is what comes out of your mouth as you hike up to the face of Artists Drive. It seems the hillside was attacked with graffiti from thousands of gallons of spray paint. Every color of the rainbow blazes across this modernist mural. As you stand and look you breath in the magnitude of the periodic table of the elements present in Death Valley and the artistic talent of Mother Nature.

Artist’s Drive rises up to the top of an alluvial fan fed by a deep canyon cut into the Black Mountains. Artist’s Palette is on the face of the Black Mountains and is noted for having various colors of rock. These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (red, pink and yellow is from iron salts, green is from decomposing tuff-derived mica, and manganese produces the purple).

Called the Artist Drive Formation, the rock unit provides evidence for one of the Death Valley area’s most violently explosive volcanic periods. The Miocene-aged formation is made up of cemented gravel, playa deposits, and much volcanic debris, perhaps 5,000 feet (1500 m) thick. Chemical weathering and hydrothermal alteration are also responsible for the variety of colors displayed in the Artist Drive Formation and nearby exposures of the Furnace Creek Formation. (last two paragraphs stolen from the web)

To see a Gallery of photos from Death Valley click on this link:
Death Valley Photo Gallery

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