Fossilized Sea Shell in Painted Gorge
ANZA-BORREGO SOUTH : GEOLOGY AND PALEONTOLOGY
At least two things are readily apparent in the southern reaches of Anza-Borrego.
One is that this area was clearly under water at one time, both sea water
from the Gulf of California and fresh water and mud from the Colorado River.
There is ample evidence in the character of the soil and in fossilized sea
shells and petrified wood. Another as the northwest trending of ranges like
the Coyote Mountains shows, is that the land is slowly moving northwest
toward San Francisco.
You can see this from a distance by stopping at the Carrizo
Badlands Overlook. There is further evidence when you drive into Fossil
Canyon, Painted Gorge,
or the Yuha Basin and examine
not only the land formations but look for fossilized sea shells.
What may be less obvious is that volcanoes once erupted. The Volcanic Hills,
accessed along Jojoba Wash and Montero Wash, and Painted Gorge are good
places to study the unique characteristics of the volcanic soils of the
For over a century, paleontologists have swept over this region, discovering
the fossilized remains of distinct animals, and developing a remarkable
picture of life here over the past millions of years. Suffice it to say
that the verdant Anza-Borrego of old was quite different from the arid Anza-Borrego