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Due to the cancellation of the 2020 Desert Symposium, we have 50 copies of the Field Guide and Proceedings available for purchase. The price of obtaining a copy of the field guide is $25.00. It includes postage and as a bonus one of the final papers submitted by Robert (Bob) E. Reynolds before his passing. Please send payment to: Desert Symposium Inc., C/O Bruce W Bridenbecker, 7528 Lucerne Vista Ave, Yucca Valley, CA 92284


The 2021 Desert Symposium is scheduled for October 22-25, 2021.
Please check this website for updates and location.
Theme: Volcanoes in the Mojave
Cima volcanic field    Pisgah_Crater    Lavic_Lake_volcanic_field    Amboy Crater

Eruptions of basalt lava at Cima as recently as 10,000 years ago highlight the ongoing and widespread young volcanic fields of Quaternary and Pliocene age in the Mojave Desert. We plan to visit Cima volcanic field and possibly several others. Because current research in these volcanic fields has been curtailed by Covid-19, the leaders and destinations of the field trip are a bit uncertain. We expect that plans will be firm by late fall 2020.

During Fall 2020 we will send updates on the upcoming meeting and start the process for submitting papers and abstracts. Start planning your contribution now!


We are pleased to announce the addition of Geof Spaulding to the Board of Directors. Geof brings extensive experience in paleoecology and paleoclimate study of the desert, as well as solid managerial skills—check our website for more information about him!

SHARE YOUR RESEARCH: Original and previously unpublished scientific research papers relating to the Mojave Desert or any subject involving any desert are welcome. All papers submitted will be peer-reviewed for relevance to desert topics and scientific content before acceptance.

topics: geology,  biology,  botany,  ecology,  archaeology,  hydrology,  paleontology,  tectonics,  climate,  history,  mining,  mineralogy,  conservation,  desert resource management

CARPOOLING! All of us will be carpooling during some or all of the field trip. To the extent possible, please make arrangements to carpool before the meeting with people who you know will be going on the field trip.


Winner of the 2020 Robert E. Reynolds Desert Symposium Student Research Award
Cali Trammell (CSUN)
"Basin Analysis of the Eocene Goler Formation, Mojave Desert, California"


The 2020 Desert Symposium Field Guide and Proceedings (Changing Facies) can be downloaded from our History page.


The 2020 Desert Symposium was scheduled for April 17-20, 2020 in Zzyzx.

Theme: Changing Facies

Fossils from the Mojave Desert first reached UC Berkeley more than a century ago, and the rush was on to Red Rock Canyon, the Mud Hills, and Lake Manix. Once, greenish-gray sediments meant “lake", but now some facies are considered to be ground water discharge deposits. Many “baked contacts” are now recognized as paleosols. The distribution of these facies and their changes through time tells a story of landscapes and climates with fossils using biostratigraphy.

The Mojave contains a 24-million-year sequence of fossiliferous sediments from the Arikareean Land Mammal Age of early Miocene times through the Rancholabrean of Pleistocene times. The Barstovian Land Mammal Age was named for a faunal assemblage in the central Mojave Desert near Barstow. Come follow in the footsteps of great paleontologists as we explore the facies and faunas of the Mojave Desert and the southwestern Basin and Range Province.


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