Dean M. Chriss
The Primordial Desert. Final Days

America's Primordial Desert, Final Days

(Click image to enlarge)

Geological forces sculpted the earth's landscapes over a period of 4,500,000,000 years. The first primitive humans began sculpting stone tools 2,500,000 years ago. During the industrial revolution of the 1700s people gained the ability to significantly alter the earth's surface. In just 300 years we altered 75 percent of the earth's land area for human use. The rate at which this happens is constantly increasing. If you do the math, that means a person born today will live to see the world's last natural landscapes disappear, including the one in this photograph.

This photograph was captured in America's desert southwest on a spring evening just before sunset. The area is increasingly visited by people keen to drive ATCs over challenging terrain, thus destroying it for everyone else. Off road motorized travel is illegal in the area shown here, but there is no enforcement. That explains why I had to remove tire tracks from this photograph that did not exist on a previous visit four months earlier. Based on what I have seen elsewhere, photography, sight seeing, and most other activities will soon be pointless here.