The Anza-Borrego Desert A Living Laboratory Scott C Melligan
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (CA)• Two hours northeast of downtown San Diego, away from the ocean and foothills, you’ll find a living laboratory of earths evolution.• It is the largest state park in California covering 600,000 acres.• 20,000 feet of sediment has been deposited in the course of 7 million years(Anza Borrego Travel Blog, 2012)
Courtesy of Google™ EarthBorrego Desert State Park6’’N 116°17’51.86’’W
A Link to the Past• This Desert Chuckwalla lizard lives in the ABDSP.• This species of reptile is native to the desert regions of southern California and Arizona.• In it’s natural setting it bears a passing resemblance for it’s extinct cousin, the dinosaur.(Desert Gazette, 2012) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:0703Chuckwalla.JPG
Split MountainThe magnificent http://www.backroadswest.com/anza/2011/11/split-mountain/badlands in the parklook like a moonscapebut function as ameasurabledemonstration of howthe earth was formedwith both a visible riftvalley and continentalplate boundary.
Clam Shell Fossils• Some 20,000 feet of sediment has been deposited in 7 million years, leaving a ripe fossil bed for academic study.• Over 500 types of fossils have been discovered in the park.(Jefferson, 2012) http://tinyurl.com/brdemga
StromateliteStromatelites are formedwhen sediments aretrapped withinphotosynthesizingcyanobacteria- also calledblue/green algae- in areasof high salinityconcentrations as you’dfind in the Salton Sea.(Monroe, 2009). http://www.abdnha.org/pages/12brag/co_stromatelite.htm
FulguriteWhen lightning greaterthan 1800° strikes sand-which is in abundance inthe desert- it can form ahollow glass tube called aFulgurite.(What is a Fulgurite, 2012) http://www.abdnha.org/pages/12brag/co_fulgurite.htm
Gone Today, Here Tomorrow• The geologic activity along the many fault lines in southern California means that on a regular basis new features are revealed in the desert.• In fact, a 3.4 magnitude tremor occurred just one month ago only 9 miles from Borrego Springs.(Phys, 2012) http://www.anzaborregopaleo.org/PARK_GEOLOGY.html
ConclusionSeveral years ago I had the “pleasure” of living inthe ABDSP- the town of Borrego Springs- when Iworked at the now defunct La Casa del ZorroResort. It is a beautiful but unforgiving placewhich demonstrates how small man iscompared to the earths magnificence. In fact,fewer and fewer men choose to live there butthe evolution continues unabated.
ReferencesAnza Borrego Travel Blog, (2012)http://www.backroadswest.com/anzaDesert Gazette (2012). Chuckwallahttp://digital-desert.com/wildlife/chuckwalla.htmlJefferson, George T. (2012) Fossil Treasures of the Anza Borrego Deserthttp://www.borregospringschamber.com/abdsp/fossils.htmMonroe, James S. (2009). The Changing Earth, 5th EditionBelmont, CA: Brooks/ColePhy, Melissa (2012). 3.4 Magnitude Earthquake Near Borrego Springs Felt in RamonaRamona Patchhttp://ramona.patch.com/articles/3-4-magnitude-earthquake-near-borrego-springsWhat is a Fulgurite (2012)http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_a_Fulgurite