California’s Physical Landscapes

California’s Physical Landscapes

The goal of this assignment is to investigate unique physical landscapes in CA and apply your knowledge of the state’s geological processes to these sites. The point breakdown depends on which locations are chosen, each question is roughly worth 2-3 points.
Take a virtual tour of California’s physical landscapes. Visit at least seven of the sites below and answer the corresponding questions. Please submit your answers typed and clearly connected to the number and website. Be sure to use your own words and DO NOT copy the website.

When you submit your responses, please connect them to the questions, as stated below, but make them stand out from the question. This can be done by using a bullet point, bold type, different color text, italicized letters, etc.

1) The Sliding Rocks of Racetrack Playa –
The Sliding Rocks of Racetrack Playa
– What are three possible theories of what causes the rocks on Death Valley’s racetrack to move?
– Which do you feel is most plausible and why? Perhaps you have your own theory.

2) Modoc Forest/Modoc Plateau – US Forest Service
Modoc Plateau
– Where is the Modoc Plateau/Forest located?
– What makes Medicine Highlands unique? What does this tell you about the geologic formation of this area?

3) Trail of the Petrified Forest – T.Wright
Petrified Forest(click on both “more” links, also look at the ‘Information of Educators’ button if you need help)
– What causes this forest to be petrified?
– Where is the Petrified Forest located?
– How old are the petrified trees?
4) The Hayward Fault: Predictable Peril – KQED QUEST
Hayward Fault
DIRECTIONS: Watch video (12 minutes)
– What does a trench, dug across a fault line, tell scientists?
– Why would a magnitude 6.8 earthquake along the Hayward fault (like that in 1868) be more devastating today?
– What are three things you can personally do to prepare for “The Big One”?

5) Carrizo Plain National Monument – USGS
Carrizo Plain
DIRECTIONS: Click on the “Standard Photo Tour” tab. This will take you through several photos of the region along with captions that describe what is being seen. The answers to these question are found on multiple photos
– In which two counties does the Carrizo Plain reside?
– What type of rock is Painted Rock?
– What significant contributions does Carrizo Plain offer to the following disciplines.
History =
Anthropology/Archeology =
Botany =
Animal Habitats =
Techtonics/Geology =
6) The Salton Sea – CA Department of Water
Salton Sea
DIRECTIONS: Read the first three paragraphs under “Salton Sea Species Conservation Habitat Project”, then go to the blue box at the bottom of the page titled “Information About”. Listen to the podcast under “Fish Kills and Smell”, and then read the information under tabs “Species Habitat Conservation Project” and “Background”.
– Why is the habitat at the Salton Sea so critical for birds and what is being done to help the situation?
– What caused the Salton Sea?
– What is the cause of the smell in the area?
– What is causing the majority of fish to die in the Salton Sea?
7) Geology of Newhall
Newhall Geology
– Where is Newhall?
– What natural resource is readily available in Newhall?
– What is special about The Pioneer Refinery?
8) San Andreas Fault – Palmdale to Gorman – Lowell Kessel
San Andres Fault
– Explain what (and how) geologic forces created the landscape presented in the photo?
9) Tracing Earthquakes
Earthquake Tracking
DIRECTIONS: Above map click on “Recent Quakes”. Then zoom in on the area in which you live by clicking on map.

– List the THREE most recent earthquakes closet to you. Give their magnitude, date, and depth. This can be done by clicking on the colored dots which represent an earthquake.

10) Coastal Beach Field Trip – UC Santa Cruz
Coastal Geology
DIRECTIONS: Read the brief overview and outline for this geology field trip of the beaches near Santa Cruz
– With which plate does the Natural Bridges State Park and what is its direction of movement?
– What is the primary stone that forms the landforms at Natural Bridges State Park?
– What is “willfoxing”? ?