Field Geology of the Southwest
Carlsbad Caverns / White Sands
Spring 2006
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Thursday January 12, 2006 (Day 1)
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Afternoon in west Texas (Leighty)
The Guadalupe Mountains come into view as we travel east on U.S. Highway 180/62 near Salt Flat.
Desert sentinel (Leighty)
Keeping watch over Salt Basin, Crow Flats, and Pine Springs. The cliffs are the Permian Capitan Limestone, originally a reef complex. The slopes below are underlain by deeper-water, fore-reef sandstone, mudstone, and limestone of the Delaware Group.
Western cliffs (Leighty)
Afternoon sun on the western end of the Guadalupe Mountains and southwestern end of the Capitan escarpment. El Capitan (right) has an elevation of 8078 feet. Shumard Peak (elevation 8615 feet) lies to the northest (left).
El Capitan (Leighty)
The prominent landmark at the southwestern end of the Guadalupe Mountains.
Lonely highway (Leighty)
View northeast down the road (U.S. 180/62) towards the Delaware Mountains.
Doing the tourist thing (Leighty)
Liz, Kurt, and Karen bail out of the lead van to stretch and take pictures. Flattop Mountain looms to the south of the road.
Roadside stop (Leighty)
The rest of the caravan pauses for pictures, stretching, and the everpresent smoke-break.
Getting closer (Leighty)
View north of the Guadalupe Mountains from a little farther down the road.
Getting closer close-up (Leighty)
El Capitan in front of the ridge leading to the higher Guadalupe Peak (elevation 8749 feet; the highest point in Texas) behind.
More El Capitan (Leighty)
Impressive cliffs of Permian Capitan Limestone.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park / Pine Springs Campground
Pine Springs Canyon sunset (Leighty)
Northwest of the Pine Springs Campground, the waning afternoon sunlight (5:17 pm) highlights the eastern slopes of Pine Spring Canyon.
Sunlit ridgeline I (Leighty)
Close-up of the steep, rocky slopes and cliffs.
Sunlit ridgeline II (Leighty)
Steep, rocky slopes and cliffs in the growing darkness.
Waning daylight(Leighty)
The remains of the day glow on the upper portion of Pine Spring Canyon.
Low western ridge (Leighty)
A low ridge forms our western horizon.
Lone tree (Leighty)
A lone tree marks the ridgeline west of camp.
Sunset sentinels (Leighty)
The first tree is joined by a second lower on the slope.
Lower camp (Leighty)
The upper "dormitory" area and the kitchen.
Upper camp (Leighty)
The upper "dormitory" area takes shape.
Quiet vans (Leighty)
The vans sit nearly empty now as everyone sets-up camp.
Moonrise (Leighty)
Moonrise from the Pine Springs Group camp site (elevation 5800 feet)
Nearly full moon (Leighty)
The moon, two days from full, rises over the west Texas desert.
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