Stop 16 Shoreline Butte
Location: Death Valley National Park, CA.
Date: March 9, 2007
Death Valley National Park is located within the Basin and Range physiographic province of the United States which is characterized by long, narrow valleys bounded by steep mountainous terrain. At various times throughout geologic history, pluvial lakes once filled the low-lying valleys as a result of wetter climatic conditions related to glacial periods. The largest and most recent of such pluvial lakes to fill Death Valley is known as Lake Manly. Lake Manly once reached an extent of 187 km in length and as much as 183 m in depth. Evidence of this former lake is visible today throughout Death Valley in both erosional and depositional surface features. Shoreline Butte, located near the south end of the valley, is among the best evidence for the existence of Lake Manly. Consisting of a series of horizontal terraces or benches running roughly parallel, these erosional platforms were created as waves from the lake cut shorelines into the rock. These terraces are the remnants of ancient shorelines and represent fluctuating water levels of Lake Manly.
Shoreline Butte with erosional platforms depicting former Lake Manly shorelines highlighted.
By Jennifer Mikolajczyk