I recently embarked on a trip to Joshua Tree with several classmates to film our final project and experience the majestic beauty that is the national park. As part of the project, we researched the geological nature of the park and its history. We found out that the rocks in Joshua Tree are made up of monzogranite and that the face of the park was formed over 100 million years ago when molten liquid, heated by convection, oozed up through the outer mantle and cooled just below the surface. Over time, erosion washed away the softer rock and dirt and allowed for the emergence of the rocks we see now. This is how the seemingly precarious rock formations arose. They were initially underground and have slowly developed into their current placement.
After completing the filming, we spent the rest of our time in Joshua Tree hiking and climbing on rocks, which really gives you a sense of context. Climbing on rocks that were formed over 100 million years are one thing, but doing so in such a barren, alien world is another. Joshua Tree is one of the few landscapes on this Earth that resembles the surface of Mars far more than our own Earth. Climbing and hiking in the park truly gives you a sense of wonder of what else is out there.