These sandy mudflats gave way about 550 Ma to a carbonate platform which lasted for the next 300 million years of Paleozoic time.
The passive margin switched to active margin in the early-to-mid Mesozoic when the Farallon Plate under the Pacific Ocean started to dive below the North American Plate, creating a subduction zone; volcanoes and uplifting mountains were created as a result.
The upper part was formed after silt and sand destroyed the algal mat, forming siltstone and sandstone.
Laterally extensive diabase sills of molten rock later intruded above and below the carbonate rock layers; commercial grade talc was formed from thermal decay of carbonate rock at its contact with the lowest sill, which covers hundreds of square miles (many hundreds of km²).
Rifting thinned huge roughly linear parts of the supercontinent Rodinia enough to allow sea water to invade and divide its landmass into component continents separated by narrow straits.
A passive margin developed on the edges of these new seas in the Death Valley region.
Erosion over many millions of years created a relatively featureless plain.
This somber, gray, almost featureless crystalline complex is composed of originally sedimentary and igneous rocks with large quantities of quartz and feldspar mixed in.Uplift eventually exposed the crystalline complex to erosion.Arkose conglomerate and mudstone of the lower Crystal Spring Formation were created from muddy debris derived from stream erosion of these uplands. The elliptical depression to the left is the Searles Lake basin, the smaller linear valley is Panamint Valley and the larger one is Death Valley.The mountain range between Death and Panamint valleys is the Panamint Range and the Black Mountains bound the other side of Death Valley.