Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park
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Stop 10
Geology

These rocks have been weathered away over millions of years.
These rocks have been weathered away over millions of years.

Large boulders sometimes appear to be peeling away layer by layer. This is called exfoliation and is an example of a physical rock-weathering process. Water moves into cracks in the rocks, freezes and expands, causing the rock to flake apart. Expansion and contraction from hot desert days and cold nights can also cause the rock to split. As the edges of the coarse-grained monzonite rock break away, it develops into rounded boulders. The process of exfoliation is the first step in soil formation from these large boulders. Physical, chemical, and biological processes will continue to break down the flakes of exfoliated rock into soil-sized particles.

The formation of the different rock types and the mountainous topography within the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park resulted from two different volcanoes.

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