Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Published! Geological Excursions in the Sonora Pass Region of the Sierra Nevada (and cute furry animal)

The newest guide by the Far Western Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers is now available for sale! Geological Excursions in the Sonora Pass Region of the Sierra Nevada, edited by Noah Hughes and yours truly, is a series of field trips at Sonora Pass and along the eastern Sierra Nevada as far south as June Lake and Saddlebag Lake near Tioga Pass. Other excursions include significant geologic sites on the Stanislaus River, including the unique Natural Bridges near the town of Columbia.
This is a fascinating region that hasn't always received the attention it deserves. A great deal of recent research has been done on the Miocene volcanism in the region and how it relates to the uplift history of the Sierra Nevada and the development of the Sierra Nevada microplate. The region is part of the Walker Lane, which in all likelihood is the future margin of the North American Plate. There are ghost towns, saline lakes, ancient metamorphic rocks glacial deposits and a strange "fluvial forest" in the West Walker River. There is the strange "Reversed Creek" near June Lake.

Chapters in the book include the following:

A Geographical Sketch of the Central Sierra Nevada

A Brief Overview of the Basement Rocks of the Central Sierra Nevada

Trip 1: Sierra Crest Graben: A Miocene Walker Lane Pull-Apart in the Ancestral
Cascades Arc at Sonora Pass (by Cathy Busby, Alice Koerner, Jeanette Hagan, and Graham Andrews at the University of California, Santa Barbara)

Trip 2: A Guide to the Geology of the Eastern Sierra Nevada between Sonora Pass
and June Lake, California
(by Garry Hayes, Modesto Junior College)

Trip 3: Geology and Climatology of the Saddlebag Lake Region near
Tioga Pass, CA
(by Ryan Hollister of Turlock High School and Laura Hollister of Pitman High School)

Trip 4: Sword Lake Debris Flow (by Jeff Tolhurst, Columbia College)

Trip 5: Unique Geology along the Stanislaus River, Western Central Sierra Nevada (by Noah Hughes, Modesto Junior College)

Appendix A: The Flora of Central California: Central Valley to the Great Basin (by Mary Cook, Modesto Junior College)
The book was prepared for the Fall 2012 meeting of the Far Western Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers held last weekend at the High Sierra Institute at Baker Station below Sonora Pass. All proceeds from the sale of the book support scholarships for geology majors in California, Nevada and Hawaii (details of the scholarship can be found here).
At this time, the book can be ordered directly from the Far Western Section at for $29.95 plus shipping and handling (checks only). The web page also includes dozens of other guides for geological tours all over California and Nevada. The guide will soon be available from Sunbelt Publishing, which published the volume ( The ISBN number is 978-0-9606704-4-4.
Photo by Ryan Hollister

We are excited to be able to offer this exploration of a fascinating region! If you are interested in seeing some unique landscapes and want to catch up with some new Sierra Nevada research, check it out (and help some worthy students advance their studies in geology at the same time).
Photo by Ryan Hollister
Here is the promised furry animal. The pika is a rodent adapted to living at the highest elevations in the Sierra Nevada. Their habitat is being affected by global warming. They can be seen near Sonora Pass and in the region above Saddlebag Lake.

1 comment:

biobabbler said...

I hate to say it, but the "cute furry creature" addendum to your post name worked! =) The book sounds amazing. I'd def. need my hand held on a geologic tour, and this sounds just right. I'm so glad I live in this EVER amazing state.