Day #18 Outcrop: Vesicular Basalt Ventifact

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Because today is a holiday and I’m not teaching, I’m going to select an outcrop rather than a deskcrop. Although, to be honest, today’s outcrop might very well have become a deskcrop if it hadn’t been located in a very public area of a National Park.

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Vesicular Basalt Ventifact

What you see above is a beautiful example of what happens when rocks are exposed to sustained winds over a long period of time. It is a small boulder of vesicular basalt that has been sculpted by sandblasting into a ventifact. And fittingly enough it’s locality is Ventifact Ridge, opposite the southern junction of Artists Drive and Badwater Road in Death Valley National Park, California.

Fortunately I had good weather the day I photographed this ventifact, but the day before when I arrived at Death Valley the wind was howling and the sand was blasting. Too bad I didn’t have a video camera at the time…

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Sandstorm in Death Valley

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… and its effects.
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