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Dante's View
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Stop 7 Dante's View
Location: Death Valley National Park, CA
Date: March 7, 2007

Dante’s View overlook sits at an elevation of 5475 feet (1669 m) above sea level.  This location provides a bird’s eye view of Death Valley, the Panamint Range and Black Mountains.  There is a fault running through Death Valley, and Dante’s View (along with the rest of the ranges on both sides of the valley) was created by uplifting. 


The view from Dante's View

 

Death Valley has no outlet to the sea.  This means that all the minerals washed down from the mountains are in the valley to stay.  Because of this, a large salt pan has formed on the valley floor.  The white area seen in the panoramic picture may look like water, however it is actually the build up of minerals, mainly sodium chloride (table salt).  The salt deposits can be up to 1.5 meters thick in places, and were initially deposited by large lakes that once filled the valley.

 


Fault System

 

Across the valley, large Bajadas can be seen at the base of the mountains.  Bajadas are many alluvial fans (pile of debris formed at the mouth of a canyon) converging to create one large fan.  The surfaces of the fan are dark because they are covered with desert varnish (a blackish film of iron and manganese oxides).  Lighter areas of fans indicate places where erosion is active.  The fans on the far side of the valley are much larger and broader than the fans on this side; however the fans on this side are steeper because of faulting.

 


A view of the bajadas at the base of the Panamint Range.

 

 

By Jacqueline Chambers