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The sample was prepared by fracturing a thin slab of a varnish-coated rock.
The exposed surface filling most of the frame is a fracture through the varnish layer.
This is a side view of a 5.1 cm wide piece of rhyolite coated with desert varnish from Stoddard Wells, in the Mojave Desert, Southern California.
The portion of the rock that sits above the level of the desert pavement is partially coated by a black layer a few 10's of micrometers thick of desert varnish.
Desert varnish is commonly seen coating rocks in deserts.
On the east side of Death Valley, you can observe canyons with rock slides of different ages distinguished by the degree of varnish development.
The older slides have a more mature coating of varnish.
The interior of the rock is completely different from the varnish coating.
This is a bottom view of the rhyolite from Stoddard Wells.