Driving through the most dangerous (kind of) plate boundary in the world is actually not very easy to do. Subduction zones, with the exception of the volcanoes, are mostly deep under the sea. But Central California is a unique case, being an ancient subduction zone that has been uplifted and exposed by erosion, so that interested parties can literally drive through what once was miles underground or at the bottom of the deepest oceans. I got the idea for this blog series when I spent an afternoon driving the winding road that travels over the Coast Ranges at Lick Observatory, and down through Del Puerto Canyon into the Great Valley. It's the equivalent of driving twenty or thirty miles into the Earth's crust. Looking back over the titles, I'm worried that I am using up my lifetime supply of bad jokes...
I've been reviewing the archives this week to find some of my favorite posts from ten years of geoblogging. This compilation appeared on July 4, 2015.
certain Hollywood movies have asserted recently). Hot spots, while not a plate boundary, can produce huge caldera complexes like Yellowstone, but such monsters have not had much of an effect on human history of the last few thousand years. It is the subduction zones of our planet that have caused the most human misery, in the form of massive earthquakes, tsunamis, and violent volcanic eruptions.
It's taken a couple of months to work through our journey, so I've compiled all of the posts here so one can catch the continuity of the story. Here goes...
A New Blog Series
An overview (in the most literal sense) of the lands we will traverse on our journey. We have a look at central California from above.
These Rocks are All Wrong!
Looking for the Big One
Welcome to Geology's Junk Drawer
Geology's Junk Drawer on the Marin Headlands
Terra Fatale on the Marin Headlands
The Alien Bursts Forth in the Diablo Range!
Exploring the Belly of the Beast in the Diablo Range
At the Portal of Hell in Diablo Range
Exploring the Ocean Crust without Unobtanium
Into the Realm of the Drowning Dinosaurs
The Sea Floor that became the Greatest Agricultural Region on Earth
In the Pleistocene, a Different Kind of Danger
The Dr. Who of Mountain Ranges
A Gentle Landscape Belies a Fiery Past
A Tale of Two Subduction Zones
Exploring the Underside of the Volcano
We wrap up the series in the heart of the ancient magmatic arc: Yosemite Valley. Walking among the towering cliffs, we are reminded that the rocks were actually formed within the magma chambers of volcanic systems, perhaps similar to Lassen Peak, Mt. Shasta, or even at times, Yellowstone.