<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Evanescent Light : Buffington Pockets


evanescent
: fleeting, transitory
evanescent wave: a nearfield standing wave, employed for total internal reflection microscopy

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Buffington Pockets

April 2021

Now fully immunized, Anne and I escaped from covid home-isolation for a long-weekend camping trip. Our destination was Buffington Pockets, a remote backcountry area about 50 miles past Las Vegas.  I had not previously visited, but I was attracted by photos on the internet (here and here) illustrating intriguing sandstone features and colors. The pockets lie within the Muddy Mountains, a range of grey limestone peaks interspersed by enormous outcroppings of fossilized sand dunes. The sandstone is part of the same Aztec formation as at the nearby Valley of Fire state park and, although not quite as spectacular as the popular Valley of Fire, a great attraction for us was the remarkably low level of visitation. We encountered only two other people over three days and, found some wonderful camping sites.

We drove along the rough Bitter Springs OHV trail through the mountains, passing through Buffington Pockets, and explored several side trails heading off into canyons and giving access to other sandstone areas with features that very surprisingly between the different outcrops. We first visited the north east area, where the rock is pockmarked by vast numbers of little caves and hollows, featuring many small arches. My favorite, though, was Color Rock Quarry which, as the name suggests, was the site of a small-scale quarrying operation. Unlike the deep red sandstone of the other canyons, the rock here is lighter in shade, often even white, but intricately striped with sinuous bands of pastel colors from yellow to purple. Little remains of the quarrying operation beyond a spectacularly graffitied hut, but along the track at the base of the quarried face several flat rock panels are exposed, displaying the colored striations to best effect.

   

Buffington Pockets, central and N.E. areas
   

 

Campsite by sandstone cliffs; Buffington Pockets

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 


Color Rock Quarry

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

   



 

 


Last updated 06/12/2021
IanParker
1146 McGaugh Hall
University of California,
Irvine, CA 92697

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