The prevailing winds that blow across Racetrack Playa blow from the southwest to the northeast. Geological Sequestration of Greenhouse Gases; Coastal Studies; Near-Surface Geophysics; Landscape Processes; Geologic Mapping; The Energy-Water Nexus; Energy and Environment; Water, Landscape, and Species Studies; Economic Mineral Resources Program; Economy. Salt crusts do not form at the Page Contact Information: Contact USGS Lots of sliding rocks and trails on Racetrack Playa. For instance, the playa in southern Death Valley is located immediately A dry lake, also known as a playa, is either a basin or depression that formerly contained a standing surface water body, which disappeared when evaporation processes exceeded recharge. XML. Landsat image of Racetrack Playa. This evidence of the rocks in motion has been shared in a video by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. the clay, silt, and sand in the playa sediments. in the desert southwest display giant polygonal fissures attributed to The problem with the wind moving the rocks is that many of the rocks weigh several hundred pounds and are embedded a few inches into the mud of the playa. It is about 4 kilometers long (2.5 miles) - north to south and about 2 kilometers wide (1.25 miles) east to west. These perennial water bodies completely dried up about 8,000 years haul back and forth from the mines (Coffman, John Edwin, 1999). Playas typically form in closed basins or where drainages may be blocked 'The term "playa," as used in this report, refers to the intermittently flooded low area of a basin (Reeves 1978) and does not have any more precise geomorphic, hydrologic, or climatic implications. They form under arid conditions in interior basins with no outlet to the sea. The big break in solving the mystery occurred in November 2013 when a lake up to three inches deep covered the playa and then froze. as clay-rich sediments dry out. Geology (1982) 10 (6): 321-324. Most of the rock trails are parallel to this direction. Pluvial lakes in the southwestern United States, including Lake Lahontan in western Nevada and the lakes of eastern California draining to Death Valley, seem to have achieved their most recent high levels between 14,000 and 11,000 years ago. Sediment provided by the discharge Dry Lake (photo taken in May, 2003). Playa lakes are arguably the most significant ecological feature in the Texas High Plains, even though they cover only 2 percent of the region’s landscape. region late in the summer and fall. to walk on the wet playa surface will result in a very muddy experience). Meinzer's thorough Today they flood only after seasonal storms provide flashflood waters, capillary rise of salty groundwater and evaporation. This is part of the How To…series on evaporites. desiccation fissures, or accumulate around spring mounds; these areas Racetrack Playa is lake bed that is almost perfectly flat and almost always dry. It is unlikely that wind alone could move these large rocks. The URL is http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1007/playas.html Playas occur in intermountain basins throughout the … At the north end of Summer Lake, the state of Oregon owns and manages one of the finest desert wetlands in the state, a destination for birds and birders year around. the drying out of sediments at depth; these fissures are attributed to It is about 4 kilometers long (2.5 miles) - north to south and about 2 kilometers wide (1.25 miles) east to west. Endorheic basin, also known as a sink, alkali flat or sabkha, a desert basin with no outlet which periodically fills with water to form a temporary lake; Dry lake, often called a playa in the southwestern United States; Populated places United States. If the floor of a dry lake is covered by deposits of alkaline compounds, it is known as an alkali flat. PLAYA LAKE AND OTHER LACUSTRINE DEPOSITS--Chiefly clay, silt, and fine sand. with surface channels, playa margins, sedimentary materials, and biota Earth material; Unconsolidated material ; Lake or marine sediment. Sand may accumulate in channels, fill in as near springs or where ephemeral streams discharge onto the playa surface. Accelerated deflation on Mesquite Lake playa, Mojave Desert. This expanded USGS Western Region Geology and Geophysics Science Center Lake … Aside from being a geologic history museum, the playa lake in Death Valley has been used as an economic resource. period. Julie Bryant, Co-Founder, Summer Lake, OR. Box 210184, Tucson, AZ 85721. From a non-rhotic pronunciation of player. In addition, out and may even become desiccated, forming polygonal cracks and fissures Mojave National Preserve, Stream Terraces JSON. Mostly nonmarine, but includes marine deposits near the coast. Playa lake definition is - a lake in an arid or semiarid region that evaporates during the drier months to leave a playa. playa is more than 10 feet lower than the low end of Soda Lake playa (near drain from the Panamint Mountains (to the west). True Chapter 14: Groins are short walls built parallel to shore to keep sand from moving. Desert playas are dynamic, harsh ecological systems that are exposed to lengthy aridity, strong […] and HARDIE, L.A., 1975, Sedimentation in Ancient Playa-Lake Complex: the Wilkins Peak Member of The Green River Formation of Wyoming:Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 86, p. 319–334. wet periods, and is underlain by stratified clay, silt, and sand, and Also, hydrogeological data in combination with the geochemistry of the waters were used to identify a complex flow regime adjacent to Lake Lefroy, a playa lake in the area. Image copyright iStockphoto / sartriano. may allow plant communities to become established. These highly congruent trails on multiple rocks strongly support the "wind moving rocks embedded in an ice sheet" theory. playa lake; Etymology 2 . mud, and the dry and hot conditions that prevail most of the year, prevent The assymetry of the the divide between Soda Lake and Cronese basin (with its two playas, West At this elevation, REGIONAL GEOLOGY 14 Structure 14 Stratigraphy 18 III. the flaky soda crust deposts have redeveloped on the surface of Soda Although there are numerous playas in the region, the Mojave National Movement of a large rock across a barren surface is almost impossible to believe. Rocks of many sizes and shapes leave tracks across Racetrack Playa. The maps, reports, and other information and content on this website are provided as a public service for informational purposes only. Present address: Institute for Geology, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria * corresponding author: janhendrikmay@gmail.com . Playa lakes are arguably the most significant ecological feature in the Texas High Plains, even though they cover only 2 percent of the region’s landscape. Search for other works by this author on: GSW. It is a location where ephemeral lakes form during Image copyright iStockphoto / Skye Bajoul. Geological definition of playa The geographic and geologic literature on arid and semi-arid areas contains many regional terms to describe closed, flat continental shallow depressions flooded occasionally by storms; most of them are listed by Rosen (1994) and the following ones are of relevance in this review: - Playa (dry lake): USA, Mexico and South America. House, P.K., 2006f, Geologic assessment of piedmont and playa flood hazards in the Ivanpah Valley part of the State Line Pass and Ivanpah Lake 7.5' quadrangles, Clark County, Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Open-File Report 06-10E, scale 1:24,000. 520.621.2470 | 1955 East 6th Street, P.O. Playa lakes are round hollows in the ground in the Southern High Plains of the United States. E. Meinzer first studied the Willcox Playa area as part of a larger investigation of the geology and water resources of Sulphur Springs Valley in 1910-1911 (Meinzer and Kelton, 1913). (Neal & Motts, 1967). Department of Geology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071. undrained desert basin. Landforms Endorheic basin, also known as a sink, alkali flat or sabkha, a desert basin with no outlet which periodically fills with water to form a temporary lake Dry lake, often called a playa in the southwestern United States Playa lake definition is - a lake in an arid or semiarid region that evaporates during the drier months to leave a playa. It rains just a couple of inches per year. Image copyright iStockphoto / Steve Geer. Economics Research; Center for Energy Economics; Economic Mineral Resources Program ; Tight Oil Resource Assessment; Consortia. Image copyright iStockphoto / John Alcorn. redistributed by wave action. the west side (near Zzyzx) illustrate the transition from wet to dry conditions This type of lake is also known by several other names, including: dry lake, alkali sink, and alkali flat. If covered with salt, it is known as a salt flat. Hyponyms . coalescing alluvial fans may create catchments that result in the formation Cite Abstract Fossil insects and spiders from three locations in the Green River Formation of the Piceance Creek Basin, Colorado, the gyroscopic frame, due to the quantum nature of the phenomenon, continues the discrete set, opening new horizons. Their location within stratified-lake model? When the mud dries out, mud cracks that typically cover the floor of the playa are formed. Box 210184, Tucson, AZ 85721. By July, 2006, after two moderately large lakes had formed and desiccated in spring 2005 and spring 2006 ( Fig. Read "Sedimentology and geochemistry of the middle miocene playa lake evaporites in the Gürün basin (S of Sıvas), central Anatolia, Turkey, Carbonates and Evaporites" on DeepDyve, the largest online rental service for scholarly research with thousands of … Sediments are distributed across the surface of a playa by thin sheets Finally the mystery was solved! into the Silver Lake valley (Thompson, 1929). ago. Evaporites are rocks formed by precipitation of water-soluble salts under conditions of intense evaporation. Former Board President, she continues to serve on the Finance Committee of the Board. The existence of the spring demonstrates the groundwater tic playa lake situated near the centre of the basin. EUGSTER, H.P. One of the most interesting mysteries of Death Valley National Park is the sliding rocks at Racetrack Playa (a playa is a dry lake bed). Soda Lake is the largest playa in the park, being about 60 square miles. But many visitors to Willcox Playa find its natural history surprisingly rich, an extraordinary geologic setting that supports hundr… Geology: Playa/Dry Lake Formation A playa is a dry, vegetation-free, flat area at the lowest part of an undrained desert basin. occurs 40 feet above the north end of the Silver Lake playa. Google Scholar. They are ephemeral, meaning that they are only present at certain times of the year. This report documents the stratigraphy beneath playa lakes and associated lake-margin, playa-basin, and upland settings. (See below for several more sliding rock photos.) Ronald C. Surdam 1. Playground. Abstract . Racetrack Playa is lake bed that is almost perfectly flat and almost always dry. GEOLOGY OF SHAFTER, WHALEN, AND LAZY X RANCH BASINS 25 Permian Salt Dissolution 26 Structural Displacement in the Triassic 42 Structural Displacement on the Base of the Ogallala Formation 51 IV. region were the location of lakes and marshes during the last glacial exists between the two lake beds), and an ancient beach ridge locally The 20-mule team was utilized in the valley to . River is the primary source of eolian sand for Kelso Dunes and Devils Julie’s background includes a degree in Geology and a J.D. Here, we detail similar sedimentary features from shoreline deposits of Lake Eyre, Australia, a present-day, intracratonic playa lake setting, thus challenging the current paradigm that these structures are indicative of marine tidal influence. Image copyright iStockphoto / Stephan Hoerold. south and southwest portion of the playa. He gave the name Lake Cochise to the Pleistocene lake that had once occupied Willcox basin. or in some cases, springs discharge large quantities of groundwater onto Image copyright iStockphoto / Mike Norton. The mud-cracked, desiccated sediments Fluvial floodplain and playa lake sediments comprising mudstones and sandstones originate in lakes, ponds and puddles in overbank plains intersected by alluvial channels and in extensive flood flats of playa type lacking intervening watercourses, with the delimitation between floodplain and plays a lake being arbitrary and fluent. This rock is one that is easy to imagine sliding across the top of a slippery mud-cracked surface. The saline minerals interbedded with high-yield oil shale in the center of the Piceance Creek Basin are explained in terms of modern playa-lake hydrology and mineral equilibria in the system NaHCO 3-Na 2 CO 3-NaCl-H 2 O. both the ongoing climatic drying of the region and to extraction of groundwater The Basin sediments are deposited since Mio-and Pliocene, which is valid for the connected alluvial fans, too. plants from becoming established. Home » Rocks » The Sliding Rocks of Racetrack Playa. Curves in the rock trails were explained by shifts in wind direction or in how the wind interacted with an irregularly-shaped rock. These rocks can be found on the floor of the playa with long trails behind them. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 56 BIBLIOGRAPHY 62 APPENDICES A. SHAFTER LAKE WELL LOCATIONS 69 B . Summer Lake is 20 miles long and five miles wide and is defined as a playa, which is a seasonal desert lake, shallow in the winter and spring, and dry in the summer and fall. Last updated: December 18, 2009 (mfd), USGS Western Region Geology and Geophysics Science Center. Julie and her husband Bill founded PLAYA in 2009. It is the flat white area in the center of the image. Playa surfaces are quite dynamic environments In other words, a playa lake only contains water occasionally. Geologic Mapping; The Energy-Water Nexus; Energy and Environment; Water, Landscape, and Species Studies; Economic Mineral Resources Program; Economy. This was thought to occur when the playa was very wet, immediately after a rain that converted the surface of the playa into a slippery mud. These salts return to the groundwater when it rains. This was once the favorite explanation. During the Last Glacial Maximum the low divide between Soda Lake Summer maximum temperatures average 43 o – 46 o C but can be as high as 56 o C at the aptly named Furnace Creek; winter temperatures are definitely cooler, and at high elevations are frequently sub-zero. According to the lake-surface area curve , the playa had not been flooded by a lake between May, 2002 and July, 2004. These salts contribute much to the wind-blown dust and haze in the Mojave Baker). preserve only has two significant playas, much of the dry Soda Lake and 520.621.2470 | 1955 East 6th Street, P.O. Research Consortia Overview; Access to Water and Energy (AWE) Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC) Applied … A playa lake is an ephemeral body of water, which means it only exists temporarily throughout the year. However, the surface of a playa may According to the lake-surface area curve , the playa had not been flooded by a lake between May, 2002 and July, 2004. a very challenging one. part of Ivanpah dry lake (see the aerial photograph on the Physiography A dry lake, also known as a playa, is either a basin or depression that formerly contained a standing surface water body, which disappeared when evaporation processes exceeded recharge.If the floor of a dry lake is covered by deposits of alkaline compounds, it is known as an alkali flat. GEOLOGY OF THE WILLCOX PLAYA, COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA* JOSEPH F. SCHREIBER, JR. Department of Geosciences University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona INTRODUCTION Pluvial Lake Cochise, located in Cochise County, southeast-ern Arizona, was one of many lakes present during the late Pleistocene Epoch in the Basin and Range province of the western United States (Feth, 1964). Most years playas are dry, or water may From a geological perspective this usually requires basins to be closed. The surface of Silver Lake playa is more than 10 feet lower than the low end of Soda Lake playa (near Baker). 5 ), the playa surface had transformed back to a hard and firm, silt- and clay-rich crust across large areas. CrossRef Google Scholar changing with each flooding event. Could a wind, blowing across the surface of the ice, move the ice, along with the embedded rocks, across the surface of the playa? on the playa. Many playas in the Mojave Ronald C. Surdam. Salt Lake City, Utah 84108-1280 THE UTAH GEOLOGICAL AND MINERAL SURVEY is one of eight divisions in the Utah Department of Natural Resources. Playa lakes are among the flattest landforms in the world. A playa lake is a deep long-lasting desert lake. Footer Social Media Navigation The two images below taken in the vicinity of one of several springs along It is a location where ephemeral lakes form during wet periods, and is underlain by stratified clay, silt, and sand, and commonly, soluble salts. & Older Surfaces. plains, they are rich in features and characteristics that can reveal A Google Earth image of a small playa lake just west of the Inyo-White Mountains, near the California-Nevada border (a location I visited as a geology undergraduate student years ago) Playa lakes represent unique and interesting environments: aesthetically pleasing (in a rather austere sort of way), and with unusual biological communities that reflect the special lake chemistry. Tag Archives: playa lake Mineralogy of evaporites: Saline lakes. Closer view of the sliding rock in the top image on this page. of water that flow down slope (relief on playas may be measurable in only When wet, the surface sediments of the playa are transformed into a very soft and very slippery mud. The sand from the Mojave False Loess is a deposit of wind-blown silt primarily composed of unweathered angular grains of quartz and feldspar. WHALEN LAKE WELL … During dry periods, alkali salts, primarily sodium carbonate and sodium Leave a Reply. Playa Lakes have been called the "Jewels of the Plains" as they are one of the most unique geological feature on the surface of this arid and productive region. The salts accumulate through Researchers then observed many ice-embedded rocks moving slowly across the playa on several dates in December 2013 and January 2014. (photo by Dave Bedford, February, 2001). Playa's and their surrounding habitat are a key wildlife habitat that anyone passionate about the outdoors should experience. Weather varies with wind, snow, rain, and sun. A sliding rock that has left a long track across the surface of Racetrack Playa. 0. During wetter climatic conditions, the playa lake basins of the Basin-and-Range province were filled with perennial lakes. A playa is a dry, vegetation-free, flat area at the lowest part of an lake system is known as ancient Lake Mojave. naissance geological field and laboratory work on these playas and to describe the contemporary sedimentologic environment. 1700 North Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701 TEL: 512-463-7847 / FAX: 512-475-2053. Rocks of many shapes leave trails across Racetrack Playa. The UGMS inventories the geologic resources of Utah (including metallic, nonmetallic, energy, and ground-water sources); identifies the state's geologic … That makes the question: "How do they move?" The period from 30,000 to … commonly, soluble salts. Many playas from Stanford University. On playas where the groundwater table is at or near the surface, soluble 5 ), the playa surface had transformed back to a hard and firm, silt- and clay-rich crust across large areas. discharge onto Soda Lake from one of several springs near Zzyzx, CA Some of the rocks had been equipped with a small GPS recorder, and their records indicate that some rocks had moved over seven hundred feet during at least four episodes of movement. If covered with salt, it is known as a salt flat. Once a rock began to move, a wind of much lower velocity could keep it in motion as it slid across the soft and very slippery mud. north end of the playa (or on Silver Lake) probably because the groundwater table is at or near the surface along the west side of the playa (an attempt Read "Chemical evolution of shallow playa groundwater in response to post-pluvial isostatic rebound, Honey Lake Basin, California–Nevada, USA, Hydrogeology Journal" on DeepDyve, the largest online rental service for scholarly research with thousands of academic publications available at your fingertips. Ranging in size from pebbles to boulders several hundred pounds in weight, these stones lie at random on the surface of the playa. at irregular intervals (Thompson, 1929). By July, 2006, after two moderately large lakes had formed and desiccated in spring 2005 and spring 2006 ( Fig. Summer Lake, 20 miles long and 10 miles wide, is a playa: a seasonal desert lake, shallow in the winter, drying to a mud-cracked flat in summer. Regional brine flows towards the salt lake, evaporation occurs and hypersaline (playa) brines are formed that sink and flow away from Lake Lefroy and beneath the regional brines. and Silver Lake to the north was flooded (a human modified channel now The high salt and clay content of playa surface At the north end of Summer Lake, the state-owned Summer Lake Wildlife Refuge is one of the finest desert wetlands in Oregon. Aside from the studies of Igarza´bal (1978) and Gangui (1998), there are no prior published geological studies of the late Quaternary record of LP, which is surprising considering: (i) the lake’s reputation as a RAMSAR wetland of … By February 2014 the lake had dried up, and new trails left by the recently-moved rocks could be seen in the playa sediment surface. Geologic unit mapped in Nevada: Map unit used in all counties for recent lake beds, playas, and flood plains. table is more than 20 feet below the surface, and increase in depth northward Department of Geology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071. Playa-lake basins of the Southern High Plains, Texas and New Mexico, may originate wherever water periodically can collect in a surficial depression. of the Mojave River into the Soda Lake basin is the source of much of Occur in intermountain basins throughout the arid southwestern United States to keep sand from the region! 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