Heading back to the main highway we take a 9 mile detour through Artist Drive’s one-way scenic loop.
Somehow I catch a prism from the sun creating a colorful line in the picture, an appropriate preview of what’s ahead.
The repeated volcanic eruptions from millions of years ago deposited a blanket of ash and minerals. Heat and water altered the minerals leaving behind the psychedelic swirls of color on these hills. (plaque at site)
Time of day and clouds shift the intensity of color, as does the angle that captures the view. Since I only have my iPad to rely on, I am editing my pictures to a larger size, hoping that you can get a better sense of these colorful hues.
There’s a trail leading up the hills in the foreground so we stop and take pictures on top. The salt flats are behind us.
We head back down to the road.
The drive itself offers beautiful views of a surreal landscape.
Chemists have identified a paint pot of elements in these rocks, including iron, aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. (plaque at site)
The green splashes above are deposits of green chlorite, not copper. The pink shades are red hematite. (plaque at site)
My favorite color is the pop of green viewed from afar.
Unfortunately it loses its luster close-up and appears more grayish.