The Devil’s Golf Course, Death Valley

The Devil’s Golf Course is a large tabular array salt pan on the flooring of Death Valley, located inwards the Mojave Desert inside Death Valley National Park, inwards eastern California. Although its exact boundaries are poorly defined, it extends from the vicinity of the Ashford Mill site to the Salt Creek Hills, a distance of close xl miles. The tabular array salt pan is essentially a gigantic, dried upwards bed of a lake that in ane lawsuit covered the valley to a depth of thirty feet. Some 2,000 to 4,000 years agone the lake dried upwards leaving behind dissolved minerals which, over thousands of years, were sculpted past times weathering processes into fantastic shapes. The tabular array salt pan is thence incredibly serrated that the 1934 National Park Service involve mass to Death Valley National Monument stated that “only the devil could play golf” on its surface. Shortly after, the tabular array salt pan came to travel known equally the Devil’s Golf Course.

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About 150,000 years agone the acquaint twenty-four hr stream tabular array salt pan was the site of a large, deep lake caused past times snowfall in addition to melting glaciers equally far away equally the Sierra Nevada. Known equally Lake Manly, this trunk of H2O reached depths of 600 feet. During this stream the bulk of the salts that comprise these formation entered the area. At the unopen of the final Ice Age (about 10,000 years ago) climate alter initiated a stream of evaporation drying upwards this lake. Then for a brief stream during the Holocene (2,000 to 4,000 years ago) the climate was in ane lawsuit again much wetter in addition to some other shallow lake formed primarily from snowfall melt inwards the surrounding mountains in addition to the drainage of the Amargosa River. This fourth dimension the tabular array salt pan flooded to a depth of close thirty feet.

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The climate warmed again, rainfall declined, in addition to the shallow lakes began to dry out up. As H2O evaporated, minerals dissolved inwards the lake became increasingly concentrated eventually leaving a thick salty puddle on the lowest parts of Death Valley’s floor.


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While the saltpan at Badwater periodically floods, in addition to thence dries, Devil’s Golf Course lies inwards a utilisation of the Death Valley tabular array salt pan that is several feet higher upwards alluvion level. Without the smoothing effects of alluvion waters, the silty tabular array salt at Devil’s Golf Course grows into fantastic, intricately detailed pinnacles. The pinnacles cast when salty H2O rises upwards from underlying muds. Capillary activeness draws the H2O upward where it rapidly evaporates, leaving a salty residual behind. The pinnacles grow real slowly, mayhap equally petty equally an inch inwards 35 years. Wind in addition to pelting continually sculpt the salty spires into fascinating shapes.


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