Vasquez Rocks as they appeared in Summer 2012, taken towards the North. The largest formation near the center of the photo is the "big rock", the most recognizable and most photographed point in the area. The mountain range behind the Vasquez Rocks are the Sierra Pelona Mountains, which has played a large part in the cultural development and ecology of the Agua Dulce area. (Photo by Sarah Brewer Thompson, 2012).
Due to the Vasquez Formation’s location along the Elkhorn Fault, an offshoot of the more well-known San Andreas Fault, the Rocks are subject to constant movement which has resulted in their extreme lift. These steep formations erode as they are exposed to the elements, and because the varying layers of the sandstone are composed of alternative soft and hard layers, they erode at different rates. This creates a layered effect of sometimes sharply angled rocks that rise prominently toward the sky. These types of jagged formations are referred to as “hogs back ridges” and are seen in the rocky desert areas such as the canyons of Utah and Arizona, meaning that they were extremely useful to the increasingly popular Western and war genres of film, which increased in popularity from the 1930s through the 1970s.
An additional iconic geological feature of Agua Dulce is Saddleback Mountain, which consists of two crested basalt ridges, with exposed sandstone in between, forming a saddle-like shape. This photo is taken from the western portion of Vasquez Rocks facing the West. Saddleback Mountain is an important feature in that it is present in many of the historic photos from the area, helps to orient viewers, and is located just about the Sterling Borax Mine, which led to the birth of the town. (Photo by Sarah Brewer Thompson, 2012).
Notes on this section: As one can imagine, there is much more to tell on the geology of the area. Some of which will be addressed in the Mining section of this page, with more information on the additional geological resources of the area to follow.