GSM 2015 March Nevada - Day 1
Apr 18, 2015Public
Photo: The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is located just a few miles west of Las Vegas and encompasses 195,819 acres within the Mojave Desert. Red Rock Canyon is an area of world wide geologic interest.
Photo: Many experienced and amateur geologists alike who visit Red Rock are amazed by the rock formations, natural beauty, and the vivid colors of the rocks.
Photo: The forces of nature that have formed such a visual display have taken millions of  years to create the masterpiece that is now known as Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Photo: The Calico Rocks seen from the Interpretive Center
Photo: More than 500 million years ago Red Rock Canyon NCA was at the bottom of an ocean basin. Mostly limestone (and dolomite) accumulated in this ocean basin for over 250 million years during the Paleozoic Era.
Photo: The limestones contain the fossils of sea life that flourished during that time.
Photo: Thousands of feet of the gray Paleozoic limestones are exposed at LaMadre Mountain to the northwest of the Scenic Loop Drive.
Photo: At the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Center: Randy explaining what we'll do and see for the day.
Photo: Joanie and the DeLaundreaus listen intently.
Photo: Along the Scenic Drive: Calico Rocks
Photo: The great sandstone cliffs at Red Rock, thousands of feet high, are made up of the Aztec Sandstone.
Photo: This formation, about 180 – 190 million years old, is comprised of lithified sand dunes that formed in a vast desert that covered a large part of the southwestern United States during the Jurassic time.
Photo: Lithification is the process of changing unconsolidated sediment into sedimentary rock.
Photo: Massive cross-bedding, typical of aeolian (wind) deposits, is a result of the shifting wind direction across the Jurassic dune field, and is seen in the Aztec Sandstone rock outcrops.
Photo: The red color of some of the outcrops of the Aztec Sandstone is due to presence of iron oxide or hematite.
Photo: Exposure to the elements caused iron minerals to oxidize or “rust,” resulting in red, orange, and brown-colored rocks.
Photo: Areas where the rock is buff in color may be places where the iron has been leached out by subsurface water, or where the iron oxide was never deposited.