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.
8 east to Hwy S-2 follow to mile marker 53
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