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Desert Mountain Ranges


Aerial view of the Franklin Mts. and El Paso

The Franklin Mountains are a medium-sized desert range typical of much of the Chihuahuan Desert. The city of El Paso, Texas, is bisected by the range. The foreground of the image is in Juárez, México, divided from El Paso by the Rio Grande. This river is confined to a concrete channel through this area and can be seen near the bottom of the image. Much of the Franklin Mountains north to the New Mexico border is contained within the Franklin Mountains State Park, apparently making this the largest urban park in the country.

The Franklin Mountains, El Paso, and Juárez from the south.

The Rio Grande and its valley descends from the north through the Mesilla Bolsón on the western (left) side of the Franklin Mountains. After passing around the southern end of the Franklins, the river's course changes to southeasterly, on its way toward the Big Bend and the Gulf of Mexico. The Hueco Bolsón and, in the far distance, the Tularosa Bolsón can be seen to the east of the Franklin Mountains.

Aerial view of Franklin Mts.

In the view to the left, again looking north, the Franklin Mountains are clearly revealed as a block of rock thrust upward on the right and dropped down on the left. Layers of rocks (strata) laid down as sediments on ancient sea bottoms are clearly visible to the right and below the ridgeline. El Paso flows around the range and, to a degree, onto the lower slopes. Several rock quarries are visible. Most of the main body of the Franklins is contained in the Franklin Mountains State Park.

The Franklin Mountains, a semi-natural area bisecting the border city of El Paso, Texas. The object at the bottom of the photograph is the airplane wheel and its support.

In the middle distance to the left of the Franklins, the Rio Grande Valley separates New Mexico on the west from Texas on the east. The Rio Grande flows through the Mesilla Bolsón in this part of its route; the Hueco Bolsón lies to the right of the Franklins. The distant mountains above the upper end of the Franklins are the Organ Mountains, a range of igneous origin rising high enough to support some forest trees. such as Douglas Fir and Aspen. This range is in New Mexico, the state line running just beyond the farthest visible peak of the Franklins.