Chuckwallas are large lizards found in arid regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Some are found on coastal islands; the six species of chuckwallas are all placed within the genus Sauromalus. The generic name, Sauromalus, is a combination of two Ancient Greek words:σαῦρος meaning "lizard" and ομαλυς meaning "flat"; the common name "chuckwalla" derives from the Shoshone word tcaxxwal or Cahuilla čaxwal, transcribed by Spaniards as chacahuala. Chuckwallas are wide-bodied lizards with flattened midsections and prominent bellies, their tails are thick. Loose folds of skin characterize the neck and sides of their bodies, which are covered in small, coarsely granular scales; the common chuckwalla measures 15 3/4 inches long, whereas insular species such as the San Esteban chuckwalla of San Esteban Island can measure as long as 30 in. They are sexually dimorphic, with males having reddish-pink to orange, yellow, or light gray bodies and black heads and limbs. Males are larger than females and possess well-developed femoral pores located on the inner sides of their thighs.
The genus Sauromalus has a wide distribution in biomes of the Mojave Deserts. The common chuckwalla is the species with the greatest range, found from southern California east to southern Nevada and Utah and western Arizona, south to Baja California and northwestern Mexico; the peninsular chuckwalla is found on the eastern portion of the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula. The other species are island-dwelling; the Angel Island chuckwalla is found on Isla Ángel de la Guarda and surrounding islands off the coast of the Baja California Peninsula. Two rare and endangered species are the Montserrat chuckwalla found on Islas Carmen and Montserrat in the southern Gulf of California and the San Esteban chuckwalla or painted chuckwalla found on San Esteban Island and Pelicanos. Chuckwallas prefer lava flows and rocky areas vegetated by creosote bush and other such drought-tolerant scrub; the lizards may be found at elevations up to 4,500 ft. Herbivorous, chuckwallas feed on leaves and flowers of annuals and perennial plants.
The lizards are said to prefer yellow flowers, such as those of the brittlebush. Harmless to humans, these lizards are known to run from potential threats; when disturbed, a chuckwalla wedges itself into a tight rock crevice and inflates its lungs to entrench itself. Males are conditionally territorial. Chuckwallas use a combination of color and physical displays, namely "push-ups", head-hobbing, gaping of the mouth, to communicate and defend their territory. Chuckwallas are diurnal animals and as they are ectothermic, spend much of their mornings and winter days basking; these lizards are well adapted to desert conditions. Juveniles emerge first adults, as temperatures reach around 90 °F. Chuckwallas hibernate during cooler months and emerge in February. Mating occurs from April with five to 16 eggs laid between June and August; the eggs hatch in late September. Chuckwallas may live for 25 years or more; the Comca’ac considered the Angel Island species of chuckwalla an important food item. They are believed to have translocated the lizards to most of the islands in Bahia de los Angeles for use as a food source in times of need.
ARKive - images and movies of the San Esteban Island chuckwalla www.chuckwalla-reptiles-tirol.at https://www.facebook.com/groups/555917997826565/
Darwin Falls is a waterfall located on the western edge of Death Valley National Park near the settlement of Panamint Springs, California. Although there exists a named Darwin Falls Wilderness adjacent to the falls, the falls themselves are located in and administered by Death Valley National Park and the National Park Service. There are several falls, but they are divided into the upper and lower with a small grotto in between. At a combined 80 feet, it is the highest waterfall in the park; the canyon is walled by dramatic plutonic rock. Darwin Creek is one of the four perennial streams in three million-acre Death Valley National Park. Darwin Falls and Creek are fed by the Darwin Wash, in turn fed by the volcanic tableland of the Darwin Bench between the Inyo Mountains and the Argus Range; the small, narrow valley where the creek and falls are located features a rare collection of riparian greenery in the vast desert and is home to indigenous fauna such as quail. The falls themselves support several small fern gullys.
Darwin Falls, the Darwin Falls Wilderness, the nearby town of Darwin and all other areas named "Darwin" in the vicinity are named after Dr. Darwin French, a local rancher and explorer. Darwin Falls is accessible to the public; the falls are located in a narrow valley near Panamint Valley. Access to the trail to Darwin Falls is a dirt road located on the south side of State Route 190, approximately.25 miles west of Panamint Springs. The lower falls, which are 20 feet tall are reached with a short hike up Darwin Canyon, 1 mile long each way and becomes moderately difficult toward the end. While the trailhead is accessible with a 2WD vehicle, there is an option to drive farther with a 4WD vehicle to a spot farther along the path around the canyon; the upper falls are viewable with moderate climbing. A photo progression of the approach to the falls Adventure Hikes and Canyoneering in the Southwest: Hike G9, Darwin Falls, Death Valley —. Todd's Desert Hiking Guide: Darwin Falls
California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U. S. the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento; the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, the country's second most populous, after New York City. California has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, its largest county by area, San Bernardino County; the City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. California's $3.0 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state, larger than those of Texas and Florida combined, the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world, the 36th most populous as of 2017.
The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies, after the New York metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2017 among large PSAs, is home to three of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people. California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation and politics, it is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, fast food, the Internet, the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are seen as global centers of the technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California has a diverse economy: 58% of the state's economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.
S. state. California is bordered by Oregon to the north and Arizona to the east, the Mexican state of Baja California to the south; the state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, from the redwood–Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. Over time and wildfires have become more pervasive features. What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries; the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War.
The western portion of Alta California was organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom; the word California referred to the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico. The name derived from the mythical island California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo; this work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadis de Gaula. Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts. In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It's possible.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, inhabited by black women without a single man among them, they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with great virtue; the island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the craggy rocks. Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA. Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America. Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000; the Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their political organization with bands, villages, on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash and Salinan.
Trade, intermarriage a
Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad
The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad was a former class II railroad that ran within the locale of eastern California and southwestern Nevada. It was built to haul borax for Francis Marion Smith's Pacific Coast Borax Company from mines located just east of Death Valley, but it hauled lead, feldspar and general goods across the desert to the connection with the Atchison and Santa Fe Railroad at Ludlow, to the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad at Crucero, California; the railroad was intended to run from Tonopah, Nevada, to the tidewater at San Diego, but never made it to either on its own rails. It was famous for being the last of the three railroads built to cross the Death Valley region, outlasting them by over 30 years providing dedicated and reliable service to the desert residents; the T&T formed part of a potential north-south transcontinental railroad route, connected together by four different US railway companies used as the basis to form a Mid-Pacific Railroad. The railroad operated from 1907 till 1940, when it suspended operations due to a lack of profitable traffic.
The rails were taken up in 1943 for use in World War II and the company itself was abandoned by 1946. Francis Marion Smith was one of mining tycoons. In 1890, he had incorporated the Pacific Coast Borax Company and operated the largest borax mine in the world at Borate, located 11 miles north of Daggett, with the Borate and Daggett Railroad running a more than adequate service between the two stops. Smith was responsible for building several interurban and rapid transport systems around Oakland and San Francisco, California. By 1901, Smith started searching some old borax claims located in the Black Mountains, just east of Death Valley, located the Lila C. mine, about 135 miles from the nearest railhead of Ivanpah, California on the Santa Fe. To bring the borax out from this remote region, he tried to use an old steam tractor to haul the ore, but it was not suited for the harsh desert conditions and was taken out of service. Smith considered the idea of building a railroad from the nearest point possible on the Santa Fe, to connect the Lila C. to the most intermediate route to his refineries at Alameda and Bayonne, New Jersey.
He had hoped of extending the railroad towards Tonopah, Nevada, as during that time there was a great mining boom going on in the region, with gold and silver mines popping out from all over the area, as far south as Beatty, Nevada and Rhyolite, Nevada. On July 19, 1904, Francis Marion Smith had incorporated the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad Company in New Jersey, with Smith as president, his associates DeWitt Van Buskirk as vice-president, C. B. Zabriskie as secretary-treasurer, John Ryan as superintendent and general manager. After considering building his railroad from several locations including Manvel and Daggett, Francis Smith ran into William A. Clark, Montana senator and head of the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, at Las Vegas, Nevada. Clark proposed to Smith that the T&T could be built out of Las Vegas, as the quickest and most direct way to the borax mine and Tonopah goldfields. Smith reacted enthusiastically to Clark's proposal, he agreed. However, Clark himself was considering building a railroad to Tonopah, allowing a direct competitor to build right in his way put Clark in a awkward position.
In 1905, Francis Marion Smith sent crews out to Las Vegas to begin construction of the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad. Grading was started on May 29, by mid-July, about 12 miles of roadbed was graded. William Clark had tried to discourage Smith from building his railroad, from raising rates for construction materials to consolidating the Nevada Rapid Transist Company and building an auto road from Las Vegas to Beatty; the sharpest point in the barb poked in Smith's side, was when he was denied by LA&SL railroad officials to allow the T&T grade to connect to their main line. Smith tried to get in contact with Clark to figure out what was going on, but Clark had evaded Smith by hiding out in Paris. There, Clark had came up with the idea of building his own railroad to the Nevada goldfields, which would come to be known as the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad. Despite Smith's disappointment, he held no resentment for Clark, instead went to the Atchison and Santa Fe Railroad to propose they use their stop at Ludlow, California as the T&T's new terminus.
This was the perfect get-back at Clark's double-cross, for Clark and the Santa Fe were in direct competition to one another. Plus, building north of Ludlow would bring about more business opportunities for the T&T to profit off of, as there were plenty of mines in the area where the Tonopah & Tidewater was planned to be built; the biggest drawback however, was that the railroad would be twice as long as it would've been if they built out of Las Vegas, about 200 miles distance. Francis Smith sold all of his Las Vegas railroad work, graded roadbed and supplies to Clark, moved to Ludlow and started building the T&T with new construction material provided by the Santa Fe. Starting construction in November, it soon got too hot for the railroad workers during the summer months. Water was the hardest to provide, but plenty of meat was made available by the butchers located in Daggett; the T&T construction crews reached Crucero, California by 1906, where they had to cross over the mainline of the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad.
An agreement was written by the T&T and the LA&SL to use Crucero as an i
Eureka Valley Sand Dunes
The Eureka Valley Sand Dunes are located in the southern part of Eureka Valley, in northern Inyo County in eastern California, in the southwestern United States. Although covering an area of only 3 square miles, the dunes rise 680 feet above the surrounding valley floor, making them one of the highest dune fields in North America. Eureka Valley is a basin and range structural valley oriented northwest-southeast and enclosed by the Last Chance Range to the east and the Saline Range to the west; the Eureka Dunes themselves are located in the southeastern most tip of the valley and trend north-south, parallel to Last Chance Range. According to a USGS survey map, the surrounding mountain ranges contain rocks that date back to the Mississippian and Cambrian periods while the surficial deposits on the valley floor are made up of alluvium dating to the Quaternary period, they are classified as booming sand dunes, one of only about forty worldwide. Accessed via a gravel road in Eureka Valley, the dunes became part of the Death Valley National Park as part of its expansion in 1994.
Foot travel in the dunes is permitted. A primitive campground is located at the north end of the dune field; the Eureka Dunes are an example of a complex-linear dune- the main ridge is a static linear dune but there are active star dunes formations superimposed on the linear dune A linear dune has alternating slip faces on opposite sides of the crest. This means it both sides of the dune have similar slopes and wind must have come from both the northern and southern ends of the valley. Star dunes have "arms" radiating off of a central crest that change direction as the wind direction changes. Little is known about the past of its development; the sand source is unknown, although some scientists believed that it originated from an ancient lake at the northern end of the valley. The unique booming characteristic of the Eureka Dunes is caused by the relative motion of moving sand grains; the sound has been compared to moans, drums, and, in the case of Eureka, a distant propeller plane. Most researchers agree that the average sand grain size should be smaller than 300 µm, well-sorted with no dusty material, dry and in low humidity, loosely packed, each sand grain should be spherical and smooth The booming sound occurs when a sheet of sand avalanches down the slip face, exciting the sand grains.
The friction between these grains creates an acoustic air wave. The Eureka Dunes are the home of several unique plant species; the Eureka Dune Grass, the Eureka Evening Primrose, the Shining Locoweed are only found in this area. Visitors to the dunes may experience other unique aspects of these dunes, other than the booming. In wet weather, patterns can be seen in the sand that reveals the diverse sources, the complex Aeolian process by which these dunes are formed (and re-formed- sources and processes that are not yet understood. Sand dunes exist in Death Valley near Stovepipe Wells; the Eureka Dunes share regional characteristics with the Kelso Dunes in the Mojave Desert. Deep Springs Valley Death Valley National Park - Eureka Dunes Types of Dunes Endangered Endemic Dune Plants
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is an American national park that straddles the California—Nevada border, east of the Sierra Nevada. The park boundaries include Death Valley, the northern section of Panamint Valley, the southern section of Eureka Valley, most of Saline Valley; the park occupies an interface zone between the arid Great Basin and Mojave deserts, protecting the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and its diverse environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, valleys and mountains. Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states, the hottest and lowest of all the national parks in the United States; the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level. 91% of the park is a designated wilderness area. The park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment; some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep and the Death Valley pupfish, a survivor from much wetter times. UNESCO included Death Valley as the principal feature of its Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve in 1984.
A series of Native American groups inhabited the area from as early as 7000 BC, most the Timbisha around 1000 AD who migrated between winter camps in the valleys and summer grounds in the mountains. A group of European-Americans, trapped in the valley in 1849 while looking for a shortcut to the gold fields of California, gave the valley its name though only one of their group died there. Several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver; the only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams. The valley became the subject of books, radio programs, television series, movies. Tourism expanded in the 1920s when resorts were built around Furnace Creek. Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was expanded and became a national park in 1994; the natural environment of the area has been shaped by its geology. The valley is a graben with the oldest rocks being extensively metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old.
Ancient, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean. Additional sedimentation occurred; the subduction created a line of volcanoes. The crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, such as Lake Manly. In 2013, Death Valley National Park was designated as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association. There are two major valleys in Death Valley and Panamint Valley. Both of these valleys were formed within the last few million years and both are bounded by north–south-trending mountain ranges; these and adjacent valleys follow the general trend of Basin and Range topography with one modification: there are parallel strike-slip faults that perpendicularly bound the central extent of Death Valley. The result of this shearing action is additional extension in the central part of Death Valley which causes a slight widening and more subsidence there.
Uplift of surrounding mountain ranges and subsidence of the valley floor are both occurring. The uplift on the Black Mountains is so fast that the alluvial fans there are small and steep compared to the huge alluvial fans coming off the Panamint Range. Fast uplift of a mountain range in an arid environment does not allow its canyons enough time to cut a classic V-shape all the way down to the stream bed. Instead, a V-shape ends at a slot canyon halfway down, forming a'wine glass canyon.' Sediment is deposited on a steep alluvial fan. At 282 feet below sea level at its lowest point, Badwater Basin on Death Valley's floor is the second-lowest depression in the Western Hemisphere, while Mount Whitney, only 85 miles to the west, rises to 14,505 feet; this topographic relief is the greatest elevation gradient in the contiguous United States and is the terminus point of the Great Basin's southwestern drainage. Although the extreme lack of water in the Great Basin makes this distinction of little current practical use, it does mean that in wetter times the lake that once filled Death Valley was the last stop for water flowing in the region, meaning the water there was saturated in dissolved materials.
Thus the salt pans in Death Valley are among the largest in the world and are rich in minerals, such as borax and various salts and hydrates. The largest salt pan in the park extends 40 miles from the Ashford Mill Site to the Salt Creek Hills, covering some 200 square miles of the valley floor; the best known playa in the park is the Racetrack, known for its moving rocks. Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in North America due to its lack of surface water and low relief, it is so the hottest spot in the United States that many tabulations of the highest daily temperatures in the country omit Death Valley as a matter of course. On the afternoon of July 10, 1913, the United States Weather Bureau recorded a high temperature of 134 °F at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley; this temperature stands as the highest ambient air temperature recorded at the surface of the Earth. Daily summer temperatures of 120 °F or greater are common, as well as below freezing nightly temperatur
Badwater Basin is an endorheic basin in Death Valley National Park, Death Valley, Inyo County, noted as the lowest point in North America, with a depth of 282 ft below sea level. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, is only 84.6 miles to the northwest. The site itself consists of a small spring-fed pool of "bad water" next to the road in a sink; the pool does have animal and plant life, including pickleweed, aquatic insects, the Badwater snail. Adjacent to the pool, where water is not always present at the surface, repeated freeze–thaw and evaporation cycles push the thin salt crust into hexagonal honeycomb shapes; the pool is not the lowest point of the basin: the lowest point is several miles to the west and varies in position, depending on rainfall and evaporation patterns. The salt flats are hazardous to traverse, so the sign marking the low point is at the pool instead; the basin was considered the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere until the discovery of Laguna del Carbón in Argentina at −344 ft.
At Badwater Basin, significant rainstorms flood the valley bottom periodically, covering the salt pan with a thin sheet of standing water. Newly formed lakes do not last long though, because the 1.9 in of average rainfall is overwhelmed by a 150 in annual evaporation rate. This is the greatest evaporation potential in the United States, meaning that a 12 ft lake could dry up in a single year; when the basin is flooded, some of the salt is dissolved. A popular site for tourists is the sign marking "sea level" on the cliff above the Badwater Basin; the current best understanding of the area's geological history is that the entire region between the Colorado River in the east and Baja California in the southwest has seen numerous cycles since at least the start of the Pleistocene of pluvial lakes of varying size in a complex cycle tied to changing climate patterns, but influenced by the progressive depositing of alluvial plains and deltas by the Colorado River, alternating with periodic water body breakthroughs and rearrangements due to erosion and the proximity of the San Andreas Fault.
This has resulted in a high number of evaporating and reforming endorheic lakes throughout the Quaternary Period in the area, with an intertwined history of various larger bodies of water subsuming smaller ones during water table maxima and the subsequent splitting and disappearance thereof during the evaporative part of the cycles. Although these local cycles are now somewhat modified by human presence, their legacy persists. Throughout the Quaternary's wetter spans, streams running from nearby mountains filled Death Valley, creating Lake Manly, which during its greatest extents was 80 mi long and up to 600 ft deep. Numerous evaporation cycles and a lack of outflow caused an increasing hypersalinity, typical for endorheic bodies of water. Over time, this hypersalinization, combined with sporadic rainfall and occasional aquifer intrusion, has resulted in periods of "briny soup", or salty pools, on the lowest parts of Death Valley's floor. Salts began to crystallize, coating the surface with the thick crust, ranging from 3 to 60 in, now observable at the basin floor.
Death Valley pupfish List of elevation extremes by country List of elevation extremes by region John McKinney: California's Desert Parks: A Day Hiker's Guide. Wilderness Press 2006, ISBN 0-89997-389-2, S. 54–55 Don J. Easterbrook: Quaternary Geology of the United States. Geological Society of America 2003, ISBN 94-592-0504-6, S.63–64 Badwater Basin in the Encyclopædia Britannica