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Red Mountain, California, USA

(c) Copyright 2002 Andrew Alden, licensed to About.com, Inc. (fair use policy)

Red Mountain emerges from the hazy northern skyline as you drive north on US 395 through the Mojave Desert. Its core is volcanic rock and its flanks are alluvial fans of rubble. It is part of a volcanic field that has been dragged apart by the left-lateral Garlock fault.

Gold was mined from the mountain starting in the 1800s, and mining towns arose nearby, named by hopeful inhabitants after the gold districts of South Africa. Today Randsburg, Johanesburg, and Red Mountain are ghost towns and the area's wealth lies only in its stark beauty.

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