Geology of National Parks, 3D and Photographic Tours
|The Mormon Point "turtleback" is located along the western
range front of the southern Black Mountains in Death Valley. A "turtleback"
is a geologic term used to describe range front features created by undulations
along exposed surfaces of great "young" fault escarpments. In
the case of the Mormon Point turtleback, the "hanging wall"
side of the normal fault dropped down (and to the left in this image)
forming Death Valley, whereas the rising "foot wall" is forming
the Black Mountains. Because precipitation is so low in Death Valley,
erosion has not completely destroyed the structure of the turtleback,
even though motion along the fault has probably taken place over millions
of years (Troxel and Wright, 1987). Remnants of a wave-cut bench formed by shoreline erosion during
high-standing water levels in ancient Lake Manly can be seen along the
left side of Mormon Point. Scale (1:48,000); north is to the left.
[Note: Hit the "back" key to return to the previous tour image.]