Region III Quarterly

Volume 2 - No. 4

October, 1940


Lightning bolts are among the permanent exhibits in White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Forked lightning calcines the gypsum crystals that are known as sand, and forms Plaster of Paris. When the rain wets these streaks of Plaster of Paris, the composition is turned into rock, or lightning bolts.

If all the trees in the Petrified Forest National Monument, Arizona, were broken apart, and their semi-precious jewels extracted, there would be a small mountain of glittering stones worth a fortune. The stones include agate, carnelian, amethyst, topaz, and jasper.

Geologists believe that the water in the hot springs, boiling springs, and warm springs scattered throughout the United States, has been heated by contact with subsurface volcanic rocks, or by vapors given off by those rocks. These springs are located mainly near extinct volcanoes. Examples are in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming; Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas; and the proposed Big Bend National Park, in Texas.

The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, is supplied by what is believed to be one of the highest lifts of water, for domestic purposes, in the world. The water comes from a spring in Bright Angel Creek, far down in the canyon, and is raised 3, 800 feet through a four-inch pipeline. Part of the flow passes through turbines that generate power for electric pumps to furnish the "juice" for the lift. The machinery was lowered from the canyon rim on a four-mile tramway built for that purpose.

Plants representing three zones are growing in one community, in Carlsbad Caverns National Pork, New Mexico. On the rolling plateau above Slaughter Canyon, the elevation is such that one would expect a community dominated by pinyon pine and juniper. Instead, there is a mixture of alligator-bark juniper, yellow pine, madrone, sotol end yucca, along with various grasses, but no pinyon pine. The yellow pine belongs distinctly to a higher zone; the sotol and yucca, to a lower zone.

map of Region III park units
National Park Service Areas in Region III.
(click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

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Date: 17-Nov-2005