Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Caprock

If we drive north towards Tucumcari, NM, we are crossing the relatively level High Plains region, or Llano Estacado.  In December the fields are golden and uniform and dotted with cholla cacti and a few black cattle.  And then suddenly there is a narrow band of pines and junipers, and a steep drop of about 1000 feet in elevation.  And then the plains continue on again, flat and monotonous, for as far as the eye can see.  This is the Caprock Escarpment.

We spent this past Saturday walking around amongst the trees, rocks, and arroyos of the Caprock.  The escarpment is composed of caliche (hardened deposit of calcium carbonate) and the exposed rock cracks and fractures in blocks or sheets.  About halfway down the escarpment at our location there were big oyster fossils.  It is always fun to find evidence of sea creatures on mountains and in the deserts.

Nice photo of dry seeds lying in the little cup of an open prickly pear fruit, back-lit by the low winter sun.

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