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Nature’s Art Gallery – Mosaic Canyon

Weiwei at Mosaic Canyon

Weiwei at Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic Canyon is truly a natural wonder. I didn’t get its charm from the small pictures on the Internet until today’s visit. Seeing it with my own eyes and touching the rocks with my hands, I was awed by this marvelous canyon.

It is located near Stonepipe Well village. A short 2-mile dirt road drive took us to the foot of Tucki Mountain where Mosaic Canyon is. The floor of the canyon was covered with different shapes of gravels and stones. The first half mile was a visual feast to the eyes. There were “mosaics” on the wall of rocks. Small pebbles in different colors and shapes were cemented together, and were polished like the artworks from Mediterranean. It was hard to believe they were not made by human hands.

Marriage of Marble and Breccia

Marriage of Marble and Breccia

Geological term for the mosaic form rock is breccia. Breccia are conglomerate rocks with some thousand years old. According to the sign in the visitor center, “They’re the cemented remains of flash floods and debris flows that mixed together silt, sand, pebbles, and angular slabs of older rock.” The canyon carved through Tucki Mountain along the faults. Smooth cream colored marble walls curved along sides of the canyon. I observed some marbles had intricate layers with different shades. These marbles are metamorphic rocks originated from 800 million years ago.

Marble Walls Meat Breccia Walls, Mosaic Canyon

Marble Walls Meat Breccia Walls, Mosaic Canyon

The contour of the marble walls was scoured by flash floods. Water shaped sections of marbles with layers of swirls, with polished surface, or with carved lines. We noticed the remains of a railing on the wall at the first narrow of the canyon. This was where the filled canyon began just a few decades ago. The power of water is tremendous. Climbing up the narrowest part of the canyon was a bit hard. The marbles were slippery and high. A wall of breccia next to the marble wall was beautiful and elegant. It has an overall grey tone. Black, white, cream, brown, tan colored pebbles made this mosaic wall a piece of artwork.

A Footprint on Marble

A Footprint on Marble

A small patch of breccia with the shape of a footprint was pressed on the big slab of marble wall. And a big wall of breccia was pressed right next to the marble wall. This is where the contrast of young and old shows. There is a 700 million years gap in time between these two types of rocks. Yet, there is hardly any physical gap between them.

            Mosaic Canyon is a nature’s art gallery. And it is ever evolving. What will it look like a decade later?

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