The best clue to understanding this strange relationship is a different point of view. Several years back, a friend with a plane invited me on a flight over Sonora and Jamestown, and we flew right over the strange outcrop. I knew exactly what I was seeing because Table Mountain is a famous example of an inverted stream.
Nine or ten million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was a lower mountain range with a series of volcanic centers near the crest at Sonora Pass that would have resembled a region like Lassen Volcanic National Park. One lava flow was unusually long, some 60 miles, and as such had followed a stream canyon that had been occupied by the ancestral Stanislaus River. The lava displaced the river to something closer to its present pathway, and as the mountains rose and tilted to the west, erosion stripped away the softer rocks surrounding the lava flow. The old river bed became the flat summit of the Stanislaus Table Mountain; it had become an inverted stream.
|You just have to look at the problem from another angle.|