Sunday, January 15, 2012

Exploring the Mojave Desert with the Far Western Section: Spring Meeting, March 2-4

The spring meeting of the Far Western Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers will take place on March 2-4, 2012 at the Desert Studies Center in Zzyzx, California. We appreciate the work that El Camino College is doing to organize the meeting. Field trips will explore the mining history, geologic history, and volcanism of the Mojave Desert, the Quaternary landscape and distribution of biota, and the lava tubes of Pisgah Crater. More information and registration forms can be found on the Far Western Section website at

From the conference organizers:

Zzyzx (which is pronounced zy-zicks with emphasis on the "zy") has a colorful history of its own and once was a resort which featured mineral springs and mud baths, and was renowned as a health resort. Some of these facilities are partially preserved and make for wonderful photographic opportunities with the background of Soda Dry Lake. Today, the California State University system has established a consortium which administers the Desert Studies Center, facilitates research in a variety of disciplines, and aids the preservation of the endangered Mohave tui chub.

Baker, California is located 11 miles to the north east from the Desert Studies Center and has a variety of motels, restaurants, gas stations, and other facilities, some of which are quite unique. “Home of the World's Tallest Thermometer” is Baker's claim to fame and the height of the thermometer at 134 feet or 41 meters was selected when the community recorded the highest temperature ever recorded in the United States (in Death Valley) at 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. However, it is also a gateway to Death Valley and other scenic areas of the the Mohave Desert. Many travelers come to know Baker as they fill their gas tanks during their excursions to and from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Baker is approximately 177 miles or 285 kilometers north east of Los Angeles. Las Vegas, Nevada is located about 88 miles or 142 kilometers to the north east of Baker.

The Desert Studies Center has a meeting room, an area for social gatherings and poster sessions, audio visual capabilities with wireless internet, dormitory facilities (advanced registration required and individuals bring their own bedding or sleeping bag), shower facilities, a chef who will prepare the hot breakfasts, dinners and packaged lunches, a store which features items related to Zzyzx, wonderful star gazing opportunities (clear skies permitting), and a wonderful view of Soda Dry Lake, the California Fan Palms and the Chub Pond. All of the field trips will leave from the Desert Studies Center.

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