Called the Artist Drive Formation, the rock unit provides evidence for one of the Death Valley area's most violently explosive volcanic periods.
The Miocene-aged formation is made up of cemented gravel, playa deposits, and volcanic debris, perhaps 5,000 feet (1500 m) thick.
Chemical weathering and hydrothermal alteration cause the oxidation and other chemical reactions that produce the variety of colors displayed in the Artist Drive Formation and nearby exposures of the Furnace Creek Formation.
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