Great American Desert

From Sea to Desert to Today

Jan 26, 2017
Karen Madorin, 2015

What an irony that a landscape geographers and surveyors titled The Great American Desert first existed as a series of shallow inland seas. Over several geologic periods, vast waters supported varied marine life, etched inlets and beaches, while dissolving and depositing sediment. A hike through the resulting rugged hills and canyons reveals fossils that confirm this. A view of derricks and pump jacks sucking  compressed ancient life to the surface cancels any doubt about this terrain’s origin.

Studying Great Plains geology instructs that Paleozoic and Mesozoic waters deposited the region’s shale, limestone, and sandstone foundations over a period of 480 million years. Once salt waters dried, rains fell and channeled into streams and rivers that etched that soft stone landscape. It left what writer Harry Chrisman calls a ladder of rivers and streams connecting one watershed to another.

Witness Trees

Aug 10, 2014
flippetyfloppety.blogspot.com

We once traveled to Montana where I met a remarkable man who introduced me to “Witness” trees. In that particular case, the storyteller was talking about 1000 or 2000-year-old pine trees that oversaw pack trains led first by native people and later by miners and then hunters heading into the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Andrew Moore / nytimes.com

A story and slideshow of the Great American Desert provides a glimpse into lives and pictures that resonate with us… our values, struggles, and the hidden beauty of a place we call home.  Life Along the 100th Meridian from the New York Times.