Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren
In morning light, the creamy golden-yellows and chocolate browns of Zabriskie Point’s sculpted badlands seem to glow, as in this photograph, taken on February 26, 2020, in Death Valley National Park on the California-Nevada border. The vast park’s playas and the Furnace Creek oasis lie just beyond erosional formations like Manly Beacon, prominent here, while ridges and peaks of the Panamint Mountains rise to the west.
The startling terrain of today’s Zabriskie Point is being carved mostly from Furnace Creek Formation mudstones, composed of fine silts, clays and volcanic ashfalls deposited as sediments in prehistoric lakes some three to five million years ago, as well as ancient lava flows. Rainfall here — the driest and hottest locale in North America, as well as the lowest (-282 feet/-86 m below sea level at Badwater Basin) — can be periodic but intense, so