Archive - Mud Cracks near Trona, California

April 02, 2022

Every weekend we present a notable item from our archives.

This EPOD was originally published on December 13, 2010.

Photographer: Stan Celestian
Summary Author: Stan Celestian

Mud cracks are ephemeral sedimentary features found not just in dry lands but also in a variety of locations and climates. The cracks featured above were found in a desert wash near Trona, California. A rare rain event had flooded the area forming pools of sediment-laden water. As the sediment settled, the heavier coarse-grained particles collected on the bottom first, followed by finer and finer grained sediments. The last to accumulate was the finest clay particles. After the pooled water evaporated, the sediments began to dry out. The surface clay contained the most water and shrank the most as it dried, resulting in the upward curl of the mud cracks. Note the coarser, deeper material between the cracks. Photo taken on October 12, 2010.

Photo details: Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION; Camera Model: NIKON D200; Focal Length: 55mm (35mm equivalent: 82mm); Aperture: f/9.0; Exposure Time: 0.0031 s (1/320); ISO equiv: 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Center Weight; Exposure: program (Auto); White Balance: Manual; Light Source: Fine Weather; Flash Fired: No.

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