Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Other California: A Minor Challenge...

Now that I've finished my latest series on vagabonding, I can revisit one of my other long-term projects, one that may never actually end. It's the Other California, an exploration of the geological places to see in our beautiful state that don't tend to show up on the postcards that you find in our tourist traps.

To commemorate the resumption (for however long) of the Other California series, I want to give you a bit of challenge. Try to locate a spot in the state of California that is the center of a circle with a radius of 10 miles or so that has the following four things:

The site of the first discovery of gold in the state of California;

Exposures of the oldest rocks in California;

The site of the oldest and the longest continually active oil well in California;

And, the site of the second worst disaster in California history, in terms of lives lost.

Some of the claims may be controversial, but there is such a spot. Happy hunting!


Gillian said...

And you do it while Wikipedia's down. Dammit. I've narrowed down three, but they're about 100km apart, so I think I'd better keep digging...

Gillian said...

Drat - can't do it. I have a lovely wedge covered by the proximity to the disaster and the oil, but the gold is a good 200km away and the oldest rocks I'm having trouble pinning down.

Hang on a moment - did California have to be a state when the gold was discovered? That's just being tricky!

Right. I'm guessing very close to Mint Canyon, Santa Clarita. Can't get the distance down quite pat, but within a stone's throw of 34°25'48.55"N 118°26'17.00"W

(I'm glad I remembered the St Francis Dam)

biobabbler said...

I really don't know but having just watched "The West" by Ken Burns et al., wasn't gold 1st discovered in the American river (Sutter's mill and all that)? And, yes, v. clever to post this today, Wiki-free day.

Fun quiz! V. interested in learning the answer. =)

Gaelyn said...

I really enjoyed vagabonding with you along the 39th parallel and the Other California series has been very interesting. I'll look for the answer, here.

Randy A. said...

First discovery of gold in California = Placerita Canyon.
The oldest rocks in California = the Mendenhall (?) gneiss in the San Gabriel Mts.
The oldest oil well is in the Newhall field.
The second worst disaster in California history is the failure of the St. Francis dam.

The center of your circle would be in the eastern part of the city of Santa Clarita. Gillian's guess of Mint Canyon sounds about right.

I wish I could say that I knew all that because I'm naturally brilliant... But the truth is that those are all places I point out or visit while leading geology field trips!

Andrew Alden, Oakland Geology blog said...

California wasn't a state in 1848, either.

Garry Hayes said...

Obviously I should have said "in California" instead of the "state of". Wasn't trying to be tricky though!