Geology of Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park, the name sounds pretty gloomy and threatening doesn’t it, but there’s a surprising amount of life going on in Death Valley. Much of Death Valley is actually below sea level, but both on the valley floor and in the mountains which surround it there’s a diversity which blows the mind – some natural like the beautiful displays of wild flowers, dramatic sand dunes, snow-covered peaks, and some man made like the abandoned mines and other industrial relics of time gone by. Death Valley National Park is also home to the hottest spot in the whole of North America. There’s certainly a lot going on.


In Death Valley National Park you can clearly see rock layers which are said to comprise almost the entire record of the earth’s past, all jumbled up and out of sequence. The mountains in Death Valley are made of very ancient rocks, but, geologically speaking, they’ve only recently risen from the ground. Almost as fast as the mountains were growing erosion was beating them down again, erosion’s like that. Erosion in Death Valley is responsible for many features including the many intermittent streams which burst from the torrential though intermittent rainfall rushing down the steep canyons carrying boulders, soil, in fact any debris which was caught in its path down the mountain side, before dumping it unceremoniously on the floor of the valley.

Death Valley National Park is a wonderful land of highs and lows, the faulting which occurred here resulting in the rise, vertically, of Telescope Peak, from the lowest to the highest point, to be one of the greatest in America.