Death Valley Pictures -- Day 1

Day one was mostly a driving day. We loaded the trucks and left Tucson early in the morning. We got stuck in a horrible traffic jam in Phoenix, but at least the Cardinals won the baseball game we were listening to while parked on the 10 so it didn't seem so bad. By lunch we stopped at the Hassayampa River Preserve, though we didn't get to see very much tere. At the Burro Creek overlook we stopped for a talk on Caliche formation by Celinda, and then drove on to Red Lake Playa.

We drove out onto the lakebed, which was really cool. Playas are extremely level surfaces (elevation differences of centimeters over 20km), and so are safe to drive around on. The surface of the playa is covered in drying cracks. As we drove along, I heard a cry from Jay Melosh over the CB: "Giant cracks! We have giant cracks here!" As we proceeded to bump over the cracks we stopped and got out to look at them. They are a similar feature to the small cracks at the playa surface, but form when the top few meters of the surface dry out on long timescales as opposed to the small cracks which are shallow and are produced on short timescales.

Click on thumbnail for large image, on text link for smaller.
Members of the Vegas Van: From left -- Fred, Terry, Jason (me), Dave
This one's rather poetic.
The rest of the decorations.
Lazlo, Andy, and Pete mill prior to leaving LPL.
Celinda talks about Caliche next to a pretty canyon.
Racin' on Red Lake Playa.
Dave and the giant dessication polygons -- next Oprah.
Me and the crew milling around the polygons.
Pete tries to refill the playa.
Fred trying to catch the UFO.
Trucks, polygons, and sunset clouds.
Sunset clouds, mountains, and truck smoke .
Me hanging out of a truck going 50 miles an hour taking a picture of the playa, racing trucks, mountains, and susnse.

---> on to day 2 --->