There are many different types of clays available around the world. Their properties are a function of where, when and how they were formed. Accordingly, it’s important to understand the origin of products you use, especially those you ingest. Earth’s NaturalTM’s pure calcium bentonite clay comes from the pristine Mojave Desert in southern California, near Death Valley – the hottest and dries place on earth. Describing some of the unique attributes of the history and geology of the Mojave Desert may help explain some of Earth’s Natural calcium bentonite clay’s amazing properties.
To the west, the Mojave is bound by Tehachapi, CA and the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. These mountain ranges are distinct, having been created by California’s two largest faults: the well-known San Andreas and the Garlock. It is bound to the south by Joshua Tree National park. In fact, the presence of Joshua trees is one way to determine if a given location is within the Mojave Desert. It is the *only* location where Joshua Trees are known to grow. To the east, the Mojave Desert ends at Zion National Park.
The Mojave Desert makes up a significant portion of Southern CA and to a much smaller degree, parts of NV, AZ and Utah. It is named after the Mohave Native Americans and consists of approximately 54,000 square miles. The Mojave Desert is North America’s smallest, driest desert defined by its geology, elevation and characteristic plants such as Joshua trees. Not surprisingly, the Mojave Desert gets less than 6” of rainfall annually. High winds – up to 50 miles per hour – contribute to the erosion of the desert landscape and are more common in the western end of this desert than in the eastern part.
In contrast to a more typical desert, the Mojave Desert has abruptly rising mountain ranges alternating with low, flat basins with an occasional sand dune. By definition, land basins have no outlet for water so that any rainfall evaporates in place, leaving behind alkaline dry lake beds or playas. Playas are among the flattest land forms on earth. The Mojave Desert also contains dry river beds or arroyos as well.
As far back as 225 million years ago, the Mojave was covered by shallow seas. These seas left thousands of meters of sediment, visible as different color bands in the mountains. From then to approximately 65 million years ago, the Mojave Desert region experienced tectonic plate activity and the entire area was uplifted. The weather became warmer and drier and bodies of water evaporated and left behind crusts of evaporate minerals. From 65 million years ago to present day, the tectonic plate activity and movement of faults was accompanied by volcanic activity. In the Death Valley area in particular, this plate activity created mountains and caused the land to drop, creating an enormous below-sea level bed or valley.
Our Clay’s Intense Origin
In a nutshell, Earth’s Natural TM calcium bentonite clay is ancient volcanic ash that’s been charged with energy from the volcano from which it was spewed. Volcanic eruptions in the Death Valley area dispersed clouds of volcanic ash over the dry, inland rivers and lake beds, filling the enormous valley with what has become calcium bentonite clay. The intense heat of the volcano burned off any impurities within the ash, transforming it into supercharged trace minerals. Over time, these deposits evolved into veins of what is now known as calcium bentonite clay. The purity of our Mojave Desert clay is due to a thick layer or ‘cap’ of zeolite above it. Zeolite forms where volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater.
Our clay contains far more magnesium than other clays in the smectite family. One possible explanation for this is that the valley where the volcanic ash was deposited was a dry sea bed. As described above, when the rivers, lakes and basins dried, they left behind evaporate minerals. It could be that the seas in this area of the West had a higher concentration of magnesium than other areas. In fact, Earth’s Natural TM calcium bentonite clay is nearly twice as clean mineralogically-speaking, as another clay marketed as an ionic mineral supplement, derived from the Colorado desert (the original Colorado River delta). That clay has been in part, weathered by the Colorado River, accounting for the difference in ‘cleanliness’ between the two types.
Not all clays are created equal and not all clays are intended for internal use. Find out about the origin of your clay so you can have confidence in its content and purity. Check out our YouTube channel for a short video shot recently in the Mojave Desert, showing mountain ranges and a dry lake bed with evaporate minerals.