Adventures in an Extraterrestrial Environment
A day trip to Sand Mountain, a large dune of windblown sand measuring 2 miles (3.22 km) long and 600 feet (180 m) high is a journey back in time to a place that on closer inspection, takes on an unworldly appearance. Sand Mountain, located east of Fallon, Nevada, off US Route 50, is a favorite recreation area for camping, off-roading and hiking.
However going back in time to the Pleistocene epoch, the Sand Mountain area was once covered by the purival Lake Lahontan. As the climate began to warm and dry, Lake Lahontan slowly started to evaporate, leaving behind sediment and exposed rocks that gradually weathered in to a mixture of dissolved minerals and salts. Therefore, the desert playa that is found near Sand Mountain was created
Desert playa is a salt flat devoid of vegetation.
The plants that do manage to grow are shrubs, low to the ground.
A hole in the playa is perhaps home to one of the Zebra-tailed lizards that are camouflaged to blend in with the surroundings.
Horizontal lines in the mountain or wave terraces are evidence of the ancient shoreline of Lake Lahontan. Over time, the windblown sand exposes a surface of gravel or what is known as desert pavement.
Massive volcanism is evidence of the violent past that formed many areas in the Great Basin Desert.
So you might be wondering why the fascination with a hot, dry, dusty area that is almost devoid of color. The answer lies in a sense of adventure, a challenge with the adaptation of nature and the feel of exploring in an extraterrestrial environment.
No images on this blog are within Public Domain.
With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
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