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Joshua Tree's Unique Landscape Explored in Book Coauthored by Pomona College Professor

The geological makeup of Southern California is wonderfully and richly complex, and it is arguable that nowhere is this better reflected than in Joshua Tree National Park. – from “Joshua Tree National Park Geology” by D.D. Trent and Richard W. Hazlett

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is home to some of the most interesting geologic displays in the world. Rugged mountains of twisted rock and exposed granite monoliths testify to the tremendous earth forces that shaped and formed this land into a giant desert mosaic of immense beauty and complexity.

D.D. Trent and Richard W. Hazlett trace the evolution of this desert landscape in their new book, “Joshua Tree National Park Geology,” which features full-color photographs, graphic illustrations and geologic maps. Written for visitors, climbers and students of geology, the book presents its sometimes challenging subject in an easy-to-understand format.

The 64-page book, published by the Joshua Tree National Park Association, traces the origin of the complex terrain found in Joshua Tree over two-billion years in a systematic discussion of events that collided, scraped, crumpled, squeezed and shook the land into its present form.

“It is to understand better who we are that motivated our writing this book,” Trent and Hazlett write in the first chapter. “Geology, after all, is but an extension of history. (Or is it the other way around?) In a world imperiled by environmental problems, where the present calendars of humanity are so out of pace with the timelines of nature, it is all the more important that our sense of place encompass many millions, not merely hundreds, of years. Is this possible? We believe so and hope that you agree after you’ve finished these pages.”

For 28 years, Trent taught geology and oceanography at Citrus College in Glendora. He is the co-author of a widely-used college textbook, “Geology and the Environment,” and appears in the PBS series, “The Earth Revealed.” Now retired, Trent lives in Claremont.

Hazlett teaches environmental science and geology at Pomona College. His geological mapping research helped establish the Turtle Mountain Wilderness in the eastern Mojave Desert. Hazlett is the co-author of “Roadside Geology of Hawaii.” He lives in Claremont.

The Joshua Tree National Park Association can be reached at 760-367-5537 or on the web at