Stream capture to form Red Pass, northern Soda Mountains, California

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Red Pass, a narrow cut through the Soda Mountains important for prehistoric and early historic travelers, is quite young geologically. Its history of downcutting to capture streams west of the Soda Mountains, thereby draining much of eastern Fort Irwin, is told by the contrast in alluvial fan sediments on either side of the pass. Old alluvial fan deposits (>500 ka) were shed westward off an intact ridge of the Soda Mountains but by middle Pleistocene time, intermediate-age alluvial fan deposits (~100 ka) were laid down by streams flowing east through the pass into Silurian Valley. The pass was probably formed by stream capture driven by high levels of groundwater on the west side. This is evidenced by widespread wetland deposits west of the Soda Mountains. Sapping and spring discharge into Silurian Valley over millennia formed a low divide in the mountains that eventually was overtopped and incised by a stream. Lessons include the importance of groundwater levels for stream capture and the relatively youthful appearance of this ~100-200 ka feature in the slowly changing Mojave Desert landscape.

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Stream capture to form Red Pass, northern Soda Mountains, California
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher California State University Fullerton Desert Studies Center
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Not a drop left to drink
First page 208
Last page 217
Conference Title California State University Desert Studies Center 2014 Desert Symposium
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Soda Mountains
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