I am touring one of the most striking geological phenomena in the southwest of a large, powerful country. As we approach from the highway the typical high desert terrain of the nearby area gives way to bright brick-red cliffs and peaks. This unique geography was created over millions of years by the awesome power of both water and earthquakes. The thrust fault (fracture in the earth's crust) created enough force to drive one crustal plate over the top of another. This results in the oldest rocks on the bottom of the upper plate resting directly above the youngest rocks of the lower plate.
One million visitors each year visit the Silver State's first national park to take in the 13-mile scenic drive, or hike and bike the desert trails - with temperatures often topping out in the low 100's during the summer. Wild burros originally brought by European traders and explorers now roam free throughout the canyons valley's.
The canyons here held over 40 springs during pre-historic time that attracted the nomadic Southern Paiute, Patayan Culture and Anasazi native tribes to its dependable water source and the dynamic eco-culture it sustained. Their rock paintings can still be seen in some parts of the canyon and many artifacts have been recovered from their fire pits including pottery, animal bones and hunting tools.
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