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San Diego Day Trips

Carrizo Badlands Overlook- Anza Borrego Desert Region



View: Overlooking Carrizo Badlands in the Anza Borrego Desert Region
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The Carrizo badlands hold many mysteries within their sedimentary layers. Today they appear parched and lifeless, but three million years ago the area was radically different. The Colorado River flooded its banks innumerable times through the centuries and deposited thousands of feet of silt onto the Borrego Desert. This Delta region of the Colorado teamed with life. Fossils found in these layers tell us that lakes formed and streams meandered through the valleys while trees and grassland covered much of the surrounding countryside. Mastodons, camels, horses and rhinos roamed the area. While vultures soared overhead with wingspans 17 feet across.

Marine reefs, lake deposits, and silt from the Colorado River delta have been cast into layers over millions of years. These deposits, once horizontal, have been tilted up and exposed like the Pages of a book. The elements of erosion have sculpted these badlands. Paleontologists studying the fossils of the Carrizo Badlands have discovered this is one of the richest deposits of it’s kind on earth. The time period of one-half million to five million years ago is represented by the hardened bones of mastodons, llamas, horses and tapirs. Grasslands and scattered forests supported large animal herds.


Location: Take 8 east to Hwy S-2 follow to mile marker 53


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