Scenes From The BLM Campground

Fossil Bone Basin, Mojave Desert, California

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The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which administers the millions of acres of Public Lands throughout the United States, has established a fine campground within what's colloquially called by many visitors Fossil Bone Basin. All strata in background belong to the Middle Member of the extraordinarily fossiliferous middle Miocene Barstow Formation, here a heterogeneous mixture of mudstones, sandstones, gypsum (calcium sulfate), volcanic tuffs and minor limestone horizons deposited in lakes and streams some 16.3 to 15 million years ago. Many lithified (hardened) layers of volcanic tuff here bear common to abundant tracks of extinct three-toes horse, camels. pronghorns and proboscideans.

An enthusiastic explorer--my late father--of the Mojave Desert, California, prepares to barbecue dinner at one of the many comfortable campsites at the BLM-administered campground in what many folks call Fossil Bone Basin. Sedimentary rocks of the Middle Member of the middle Miocene Barstow Formation dip north along slope in background--here, about 16.3 to 15 million years old.

Sometimes troops of Boy Scouts set up camp within Fossil Bone Basin. Note the pronounced southward-tilted sedimentary layers of the middle Miocene Barstow Formation in the background. Earth scientists from all over the world visit Fossil Bone Basin, to study its geology, stratigraphy and paleontology, petrology, and geochemistry.

A late afternoon scene at Fossil Bone Basin campground. Sometimes visitors here view kit foxes and other manner of curious desert wildlife cavorting around camp at dusk.

A late afternoon scene at Fossil Bone Basin campground. Water is available here from primitive hand-pumps, but it is always wise to bring along to the desert your own ready, substantial supply.

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