Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mima Mounds in Merced County

We were on the road today with some students, exploring the southern end of the California Mother Lode, the site of the 1848 Gold Rush. One of the first things we saw as we approached the Sierra Nevada Foothills were the enigmatic features called mima mounds.
I talked about mima mounds a few months ago, with pictures from Stanislaus county, Yokohl Valley, Tehachapi, and even their most famous site, the Mima Mounds south of Seattle and Tacoma. But someone asked at the time if I had pictures of the ones just south of where I live, which I have driven past many dozens of times, and I realized I had never photographed them. They lie south and west of Hornitos Road on the prairie lands east of the valley town of Merced. I almost missed them again today as we started on our field studies class, but I grabbed the camera just in time to snap a few shots as we sped by.

The mounds have been attributed to Native American burials, earthquake waves and other complicated causes, but the latest research suggest that thousands of generations of gophers produced them. Maybe not the most fun of explanations, but the most satisfying as far as I am concerned.

There were quite a few sights on the road today, more on them in other posts!
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