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WHAT'S UP WITH LIMESTONE?

Limestone rock stores (and then gives off during cold nights) more heat than most rocks, and limestone weathers into a thin soil, both of which favor desert-adapted plants at higher elevations. Indeed, "desert vegetation in general extends about 1000 feet (300 m) higher in elevation on limestone..." (ASDM 2000). Look for all the ocotillos growing on the hill on the left side of the road as you approach the mouth of Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains. In contrast, granite rock weathers into a spongy soil that retains moisture that allows plants to grow in lower elevation, drier areas than they would be able to on other soils.