The Mecca Hills at Painted Canyon

The Mecca Hills Recreation area is a U.S Bureau of Land Management park/preserve that covers 31,400 acres in southern California, and is located on the eastern side of the Coachella Valley near the Salton Sea (about 15 miles south of Indio). It is part of the Colorado Desert ecosystem and is home to bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, spotted bat, and many other rare and endangered plant and animal species. This view is looking west from the headwater region of Painted Canyon toward the ridge crest of the Mecca Hills. The ridgeline as a structural horst between faults associated with the San Andreas Fault System that runs along the western edge of the Mecca Hills into the Salton Sea. The rocks exposed in the hills consist of Pliocene and Quaternary-age sediments and volcanic ash beds that accumulated on alluvial fans draining higher country to the east (the Orocopia and Chocolate Mountains and possibly other regional sediment source areas including older uplifts that are now eroded or buried by younger sediments) (Sylvester and Smith, 1987). As the San Andreas Fault system developed along with the opening of the Gulf of California the valley flooded intermittently by basin lakes that ranged over time from freshwater to hypersaline conditions (much like the modern Salton Sea).

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Last modified: 12/20/2010