Alluvial fan at Badwater

alluvial fan
Alluvial fans form at the mouths of every canyon in Death Valley. They consist of boulders, gravel, sand, silt --everything that erodes off the mountains and gets washed out of the canyons during flash floods. As the flood water exits the canyon, it spreads out and loses its transporting power, so it drops its load of sediment. Generally, the coarsest sizes lie near the canyon mouth and the finest lie at the distal edges of the fan. Those alluvial fans along the Black Mountains, such as this one near Badwater, tend to be relatively small and distinct. To compare this fan to those on the other side of the valley, click here.

Badwater Spring itself lies adjacent to the mountain front on the far side of the spring. The cracks in the fan on its outer edges likely formed by lateral spreading of the fan during earthquake events.


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