Be prepared for extreme temperatures in the summer above 100 degrees and in the winter below freezing. The Valley of Fire began as sand dunes. Sand dunes are hills of sands build by Aeolian processes. When the sand is compacted and hardened, sand forms into sandstone. The sandstone in the Park is a fine-grained sandstone called Aztec sandstone. Fine sand is like a cutting tool. When the wind blows it around in the air, it works like a sandblast against the rocks. Because of the sparse vegetation and the large amount of sand, crossbedding (lines in the rock) can occur. The Beehives here display a multi-directional (crosshatching) erosional force. Some of the rocks show a surface called “desert varnish”. Desert varnish is a dark, somewhat shiny stain found on desert rocks that have been exposed for a long time. Manganese and iron oxides, hydroxides, and clay minerals form most of these varnishes. Both groundwater and rainwater are constantly cementing the sandstone at the Park. Seeping water from the ground oxidizes the rocks providing a vivid reddish color to the Beehives.
Wind erosion is not the only type of erosion seen in the park. Chemical dissolution, freezing, and thawing resulting in expansion of surfaces as well as strong desert thunderstorms create changes in the rock.
Send me an email with answers to these questions:
1. Count how many crosshatches are between the top of the cave at the bottom of the beehive (at the given coordinates) and 30 inches up from the cave (it's fewer than 10, and greater than 5).
2. Explain how you think a cave might be formed in the sandstone.
3. Take a picture of you or your group at a beehive other than the one you have to count the crosshatches at.
1. You must answer all the questions in your email to me and post all picture(s) with your log.
2. Your logging this cache and sending me the email should happen at around the same time.
3. Begin your email with the name and geocaching code of this Earthcache, your name(s), and the number of people in your group.
Failure to comply with the above will result in your log being deleted!
The above information was compiled from the following sources:
1. Fiero, William. Nevada’s Valley of Fire: The Story Behind the Scenery. KC Publications, Nevada. 2008.