“Typical view of Joshua Tree National Park with impressive rocks and Johshua trees (Yucca brevifolia). The photo is taken from the parking lot close to the Banana Cracks Formation.”
This is a featured picture on en.Wikipedia. It’s not that great of a picture, but it’s not that bad of a picture, either. It’s not what I would call typical of the park, because there are so many places with grand vistas, but there are also all these great bouldery outcroppings of rocks, so, in spite of some technical issues, it’s okay.
Let’s go to the article on the park.
Joshua Tree National Park
“It is named for the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) forests native to the park.”
What do you think of when you think of a forest? I think of a dense collection of trees; can’t see the forest for the trees, you know? You can still see the woodlands for the trees, like a desert woodland. But, at the elevation where Joshua trees grow, you do have some dense groves, but you usually see what is the typical pictures of Joshua trees, widely spaced trees where you can still see the woodlands for the Joshua trees; it’s not everywhere a forest, and, later in the article, the editors admit that in some places it is a forest, while in others, like the often more familiar pictures, you have sparse trees.
“A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees.”
Okay, so, is it a forest, or is it sparsely spaced trees?
Mojave Desert in Joshua Tree National Park
“It occurs in patterns from dense forests to distantly spaced specimens. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. The dominant geologic features of this landscape are hills of bare rock, usually broken up into loose boulders. These hills are popular amongst rock climbing and scrambling enthusiasts. The flatland between these hills is sparsely forested with Joshua trees. Together with the boulder piles and Skull Rock, the trees make the landscape otherworldly.”
Okay, let’s run through this paragraph. Dense forest to sparsely spaced, then in addition to the forests (uh oh, seems only forests now), bare rocks, bare rock hills, sparsely forested (does this mean patches of forest, or sparsely spaced trees, who knows), boulder piles plus trees = otherworldy.
What other world?
Geology in Joshua Tree National Park
“The rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park were formed 100 million years ago from the cooling of magma beneath the surface. Groundwater is responsible for the erosion that created the spheres from rectangular blocks. These prominent outcrops are known as inselbergs or monadnocks.”
“Geologists believe the face of this modern landscape was born more than 100 million years ago.”
Formed 100 million years ago? That’s a rather exact number for geological formations of Southern California; I’m impressed, but, I’m also wary, having looked a few times at the difference between what en.Wikipedia says and what the source says.
Wikipedia: “Groundwater is responsible for the erosion that created the spheres from rectangular blocks.“
Source: “The monzogranite developed a system of rectangular joints. One set, oriented roughly horizontally, resulted from the removal — by erosion — of the miles of overlying rock, called gneiss (pronounced “nice”). Another set of joints is oriented vertically, roughly paralleling the contact of the monzogranite with its surrounding rocks.
The third set is also vertical but cuts the second set at high angles. The resulting system of joints tended to develop rectangular blocks.
As ground water percolated down through the monzogranite’s joint fractures, it began to transform some hard mineral grains along its path into soft clay, while it loosened and freed grains resistant to solution. Rectangular stones slowly weathered to spheres of hard rock surrounded by soft clay containing loose mineral grains.”
Uh-oh, once more Wikipedia and the source differ.
But we’re used to that by now. In fact, everything in en.Wikipedia is thoroughly wikilinked within a network of similar bad science, factoids, idiocy, plagiarism, and nonsense.