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Desert Rocks

What Are Rocks?


Rocks are all around us. They make up the backbones of hills and mountains and the foundations of plains and valleys. Beneath the soil you walk on and the deep layers of soft mud that cover the ocean basins is a basement of hard rock.

Desert rocks

What are rocks made of ?

Rocks are made up mostly of crystals of different kinds of minerals, or broken pieces of crystals, or broken pieces of rocks. Some rocks are made of the shells of once-living animals, or of compressed pieces of plants.

quartz

We can learn something about the way a rock formed from by looking carefully at the evidence preserved inside. What a rock is made of, the shapes of the grains or crystals within the rock, and how the grains or crystals fit together all provide valuable clues to help us unlock the rock’s history hidden within.

agate

Where do rocks come from?

Rocks are divided into three basic types, igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic , depending upon how they were formed. Plate tectonics provides an explanation for how rocks are recycled from igneous to sedimentary to metamorphic and back to igneous again.

Igneous
Sedimentary
Metamorphic

Source - US Geological Survey Western Earth Surface Processes Team and the National Park Service.



Gem Trails of Southern California Book
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Desert Rocks, Minerals & Geology Index

 


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Joshua Tree National Park - Black Eagle Mine Road Video Beginning 6.5 miles north of the Cottonwood Visitor Center, this dead-end dirt road runs along the edge of Pinto Basin, crosses several dry washes, and then winds up through canyons in the Eagle Mountains. The first 9 + miles of the road are within the park boundary. Beyond that point is BLM land. Several old mines are located near this road.

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Randsburg, Living Ghost Town Video
Randsburg, California is located southwest of Ridgecrest, just off of Highway 395. Gold was first discovered here in 1895 at the Yellow Aster Mine. The mines of the area have produced over one million ounces of gold. Today the gold mining activities have been replaced by tourists shopping for antiques, part-time prospectors, and off-roaders looking for food and a rest stop.




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