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Earth-Science Reviews 73 (2005) 1 www.elsevier.


Fifty years of Death Valley research: A volume in honor of Lauren Wright and Bennie Troxel
J.P. Calzia
Dr. Lauren A. Wright (Professor Emeritus at Penn State University) and Bennie W. Troxel are internationally recognized experts on the geology of Death Valley, California. In November 2002, they celebrated 50 years of cooperative research together. This Special Issue of Earth-Science Reviews commemorates that special occasion. Wright and Troxels research in Death Valley covers a wide variety of subjects including stratigraphy, structure, regional tectonics, Quaternary geology, and mineral resources. Their diversity in research is reflected in this Special Issue of Earth-Science Reviews. The first two papers add stratigraphic and 13 C data to the constantly growing volume of literature on Neoproterozoic global glaciation and the Snowball Earth theory. The next seven papers are nearly equally divided between late Paleozoic thrust faulting, middle Cenozoic extensional tectonics, and magmatism. Note that the three papers on extensional tectonics represent the latest contributions in a continuum of research since Wright and Troxel published their landmark paper, Shallow fault interpretation of Basin and Range structure, in 1973. The next four papers describe the late Neogene to Holocene geology and geomorphology of Death Valley, research topics very dear to Wright and Troxel in the last 10 years. The last paper describes the lead zinc deposits of the southern Basin and Ranges, including the Death Valley region. It is almost ironic that a paper on mineral resources is the last paper in this volume because Lauren began his research in Death Valley by mapping Proterozoic talc deposits in
0012-8252/$ - see front matter D 2005 Published by Elsevier B.V. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2005.07.007

1942. Please pause, however, before reading these 14 provocative papers and reminisce with Wright and Troxel as they recall their 50 years in Death Valley together. Then review Marli Millers photographic essay on the geologic landscapes of Death Valley. Millers photographs perfectly capture the mystery and beauty of this fantastic place, and show why Wright, Troxel and so many other scientists continually return to the challenges of Death Valley. This is not the first volume written in honor of Lauren Wright and Bennie Troxel. Brian Wernicke dedicated Geological Society of America Memoir 176, Basin and Range extensional tectonics near the latitude of Las Vegas, Nevada, to Wright and Troxel in 1990. In the intervening 15 years, much has been done, and there is much to do. To this day, Wright and Troxel continue their research in Death Valley and continue to share their knowledge, data, and ideas with any and all earth scientists. Their dedication, keen observational skills, and ability to merge observations with theory are well documented in this and earlier volumes. Combine these characteristics, however, with their compatible yet different personalities and willingness to help the youngest student or the most experienced professional and you have world class scientists that are an inspiration to all; no one could ask for better mentors! The scientific and personal standards set by Lauren Wright and Bennie Troxel over the last 50 years, combined with the theories and data presented here, will make this Special Issue of EarthScience Reviews the standard reference for geologic research in the Death Valley region for the next 50 years!