After last week's blogpost about the Racetrack in Death Valley National Park, I thought I should next share a shot of the Grandstand at the northern end. Today's shot was taken from the flanks of Ubehebe Peak on the western rim of mountains surrounding the Racetrack.
Ubehebe (pronounced YOO-bee-HEE-bee) is a Timbishia Native American word meaning "big basket in the rock." This is likely in reference to the nearby, and much more well-known, and easily accessible, Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley. The crater (actually there are several in the area) is essentially the result of a steam explosion that happened perhaps as recently as 800 years ago when magma rose near the surface, and the heat flashed the ground water into steam. The result, in this case, is a hole in the ground and related tephra that was blasted out to form a cone.
As I mentioned last week, the Grandstand was formed when quartz-monzonite in liquid form oozed up through the crust and broke through the surface in the middle of the playa we now call the Racetrack.
Behind the Grandstand you can also see another geological feature that is commonly seen in Death Valley. The tilted expanse of medium brown material that appears to be flowing out of the surrounding mountains is an alluvial fan, which are often found in desert areas subject to periodic flash floods from rain in the surrounding mountains. These floods deposit debris over time, filling up the valley and creating a titled plane.
This photo was taken with a Canon 10D dSLR w/ a Canon 17-40mm EF lens. Shutter speed was 1/500 sec at f/16 and ISO 100.