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Desert Diary
Fossils/Crazy Cat


Crazy Cat Mountain is a prominent El Paso landmark near the base of the Franklin Mountains, just west of their southern tip. Depending on your viewpoint, house and road construction near its crest has resulted in a vista of beauty or in an abomination to the eyes.

Regardless, few people living on or off the huge block of limestone are aware that it really belongs higher up on the mountainside. Like a number of similar masses around the Franklins, Crazy Cat is a landslide block. Starting about 10 million years ago, the Franklin Mountains became active after many millions of years of relative quiescence. As tilting increased, weaker layers of rock came under greater and greater stress and eventually, like defective glue, proved inadequate to hold the weight above them to the rock strata below. Tearing loose, the massive block rumbled downslope, lodging part way down the slope.

For those hunting for reasons to worry, that phrase, "lodging PART WAY down the slope" is a bonanza. Could Crazy Cat continue its downward plunge? Unlikely, but still . . . .
pen and ink


Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.



Web Resources

LeMone. Covers many features of the Franklin Mountains, including Crazy Cat.