Monday, August 9, 2010

The Other California: A Monday Mystery Photo

A Monday Mystery for you! It's somewhere in California; what can you tell us about these rock exposures?

An extra pat on the back for the name of the most ridiculous looking space creature ever filmed here...uh...filmed elsewhere in a place that looks like this....(hereby showing the importance of research).

8 comments:

@cbdawson said...

I was originally going to say Joshua Tree NP, but the movie and research reference and the snowy peak in the background make me wonder if it's the Alabama Hills.

In either spot, they are granitic rocks and the interesting feature to note is probably the tafoni: the eye-socket-like indentations in the surface. Tafoni occur through wind erosion and/or a combination of chemical weathering when the rock is buried by shallow soils making the area more vulnerable to erosion once exposed. (Although I'd be happily corrected if my explanation of tafoni is incorrect!)

Gaelyn said...

I don't know where, but it's some great looking rock.

Laura said...

Are these the Mormon Rocks near 138 and I-15 at Cajon Pass? Mormon Rock are sandstone rocks that are visible because of the ever-changing San Andreas fault zone that has exposed these rocks to the elements.

@cbdawson said...

I take back my suggestion and cede to Laura's. (Admittedly, I happened across http://geotripper.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d2vy5yl which makes me think Cajon Pass is right!)

jrepka said...

It could be Mormon Rocks, but I'm going to be contrarian and say it's the Vasquez Rocks, a similar looking terrestrial sandstone also located adjacent to the San Andreas Fault, but about 40-45 miles NW of Mormon Rocks. There is a similar formation Called the Devil's Punchbowl formation located about halfway between the two, but I'm going for Vasquez Rocks based on your reference to space creatures, since this spot is very popular for filming of TV shows and movies (I'll guess that the show was Star Trek).

For a long time it was claimed by some that Mormon Rocks, Devil's Punchbowl and Vasquez Rocks are all the same formation, separated by movement on the SAF; you can still find this claim on some websites...

Randy said...

I agree that this picture looks like a picture of the Mormon Rocks, in Cajon Pass. The Cajon Pass area has some fascinating geology -- partly because the San Andreas fault is nearby.
Garry said "The most ridiculous looking space creature ever filmed here...uh...filmed elsewhere in a place that looks like this..." I assume this is a reference to the "Gorn", the lizard monster that Captain Kirk fought, and then killed using a handmade cannon and gunpowder. (Personally, I think there are several more serious contenders for the title of "most ridiculous looking space creature.") That episode was filmed at Vasquez Rocks.
Both Mormon Rocks and Vasquez Rocks (and the Devil's Punchbowl) are Tertiary fluvial sandstones with some conglomerates. All three show cavernous weathering. Vasquez Rocks have more coarse sediment, with some layers being breccia apparently left from debris flows.
I could go on and on -- I take my classes to all three places on field trips...

Lockwood said...

I'm pretty sure the critter referred to was the Gorn, from TOS episode "Arena." The location looks to me like the Paleozoic metasediments of the White Mountains, looking ~w, across the Owens Valley, Alabama Hills and Sierras, as @cbdawson suggested.

Hmm. Just realized I could enlarge it. I'm thinking it still looks like east side Sierra, but no so sure of the location.

Randy J said...

Not the Eastern Side of the Sierra Nevada in the background. They are steeply inclined granite, not rolling sandy hills. Mormon Rocks is like this but I don't recall the exact shape of each one. I do recall they are not so isolated from surrounding features, so I'm going to go with Vasquez Rocks.