Discovering the Geology of Baja California: Six Hikes on the Southern Gulf Coast

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University of Arizona Press, 2002 - Science - 220 pages
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Baja California: wild, desolate, and a treasure-house of geological wonders. Along its ancient shorelines, careful observers can learn much about how the Gulf of California came into existence and what the future of the Baja California peninsula might be. For those who wish to unlock the mysteries of Baja California, geologist Markes Johnson offers the key. He has taken a body of technical research on the geology and paleontology of the region and made it accessible in plain language for anyone who visits the peninsula, whether for study or recreation. His book teaches general concepts in coastal geomorphology and tectonics, as well as the basic geological and natural history of the Gulf of California, in a conversive, intellectually stimulating fashion. Johnson's guide takes the form of six day-long hikes in the area of Punta Chivato on the east coast of the southern Baja California peninsula. Punta Chivato is presented as a microcosm of the entire region; it can enable visitors to better understand major themes in the natural history of the Gulf of California and its geological past. All of the hikes begin at the southeast corner of the Punta Chivato promontory and loop out in different directions. Each circuit is designed to minimize overlap with adjacent hikes and to maximize the visitor's exposure to instructive variations in the landscape. Each chapter features additional reflections on a geologist of another time and place who has advanced the field in a way that elucidates the material covered in that chapter. Through these asides, readers will learn the basic lessons about how geologists read the secrets hidden in landscapes. Discovering the Geology of Baja California invites visitors to these shores to explore not only rocks and fossils but also the continuum of past ecosystems with the ecology of the present. It offers both an unparalleled guide to a remote area and a new understanding of life caught in an endless cycle of change.
 

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Contents

Ancient Shorelines and the Meanings of Landscape
3
Puntas Cacarizo and Cerotito
41
Punta Chivato
65
Ensenada El Muerto
91
Mesa Barracas
120
Islas Santa Ines
149
The Future of Punta Chivato and Baja California
176
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About the author (2002)

Markes E. Johnson has been interested in marine geology since fossils in Paleozoic limestone first caught his eye as a boy. He is presently Charles L. MacMillan Professor of Geology at Williams College, whose students he has been introducing to Baja California's ancient shorelines for more than a decade.

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