1. Field Journal
November 29, 2010
2. Field Trip One
October 9, 2010
Mormon Rocks, Cinder Hill, Fossil Falls
3. Mormon Rocks
4. Taken Mid-day 10/9/10
The Mormon Rocks are a notable sight in the Cajon Pass, named after being a
landmark to Mormon settlers moving from Salt Lake City to Southern California. The
Cajon Pass was created by the San Andreas Fault, and the rocks are evidence of the fault
running under the ground, splitting the Pacific and North American Plate. Due to the
distinctive look of the rocks, they remain a geographic landmark in the area to this day.
5. Granular Structure
One interesting feature of the Mormon Rocks is the geographic history it reveals by
looking at the sandstone up close. The different sediments and layers of rock show
natural events such as years that had a lot of precipitation versus drought years. Back
when water ran through the area, it carried sediments that eventually formed these
unique rocks. This up close image shows the granular texture of the Mormon Rocks.
Taken Mid-day 110/9/10
Granular Structure of the Mormon Rocks
6. This area in the Cajon Pass used to have water flowing through it in the form of a
stream. Times of flash floods or drier years can be seen in the sediments of the Mormon
Rocks. This image shows the dry stream bed and the arrows point toward from where
the water flowed.
Taken Mid-day 10/9/10
7. Taken Mid-day 10/9/10
The Cajon Pass between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains is an important
link between the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the high desert. The pass was
created by the southern segment of San Andreas Fault, and this image depicts the rift
zone that created this unique geographic area.
8. Cinder Hill
9. Taken Afternoon 10/9/10
Red Hill, or Cinder Hill, is a unique geographic landmark in the Coso Volcanic field
between the Sierra Nevada and Inyo Mountain ranges. It is a basaltic cinder cone, which
gives it a reddish hue. It is surrounded other basalt formations and lava flows. Today the
hill is mined for it’s unique color. Obsidian and other mineral are prominent in the area.
10. Taken Afternoon 10/9/10
This image displays a basaltic lava flow that has hardened in the Coso volcanic field. This
shows how this lava moved and gives an idea of how the area was when it was active.
This lava flow is among many other appearances of basalt in this Inyo County region by
11. Taken Afternoon 10/9/10
This image shows the dried up stream bed near Fossil Falls in the Coso Field in Inyo
County, California. This stream went through Fossil Falls and was fed by melt water
from glaciers in the Sierra Nevada. One unique feature of the rivers formed by runoff
was the way they were diverted by lava formations in the area.
12. Fossil Falls
13. Taken Afternoon 10/9/10
Fossil Falls is an extremely unique geographical feature in Inyo County, California. The
Falls were formed by melt water from glaciers (called the Tioga) in the Sierra Nevadas
that flowed into what became a river. When the river traveled continuously over the lava
flow, it caused the basalt to become smooth which created Fossil Falls unique look.
14. Taken Afternoon 10/9/10
Another unique feature seen at Fossil Falls are Metate Holes. The holes look almost
perfectly circular and are very smooth. They were created when pieces of debris would
drill into the basalt from the water flow and continue to spin and make the holes.
15. Taken Afternoon 10/9/10
Native Americans that lived in the area used obsidian from the Coso Mountains to make
tools and weapons. Millions of pieces of obsidian litter the ground to this day. This
image cannot capture they way the ground glistens with the mineral, but in the circled
part of the image, a flake that has retained an arrowhead shape is visible.
This piece of obsidian has retained an arrowhead shape.
16. Taken: Afternoon 10/9/10
This is a petroglyph that was
done by a Native American who
lived in the Coso region
thousands of years ago. The
meaning of the petroglyph is
debated; one theory is that the
image depicts a hunting scene.
At the bottom of the illustration
is a human-like figure, and
above it Coso desert big-horn
sheep native to the area are
depicted. The Coso region has
much prehistoric artwork that
should be preserved, but it is in
danger of being defaced.
17. Taken: Afternoon 10/9/10
This image contains a house ring(which I have tried to outline). These rings of rock were
used to make living quarters for the Native Americans in the Coso volcanic field. The
people that resided in the region usually stayed in the Sierra Nevadas in the summer for
the cooler climate and would migrate to the flatter drier valley in the winter.
18. Field Trip Two
Mt, Whitney, Diaz Lake, Keough Hot Springs, Mono
Lake, Panum Crater, June Lake Loop, Convict Lake,
Eastern California Museum, Manzanar
19. Mt. Whitney
20. Taken: Afternoon 11/5/10
This image was taken in Lone Pine, California, and shows the highest peak in the state,
Mt. Whitney. Mt. Whitney also has the highest elevation in the contiguous United States
at 14,505 feet. The mountains sit in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, which run 400
miles north and south and were caused by granite uplift.
21. Taken: Afternoon 11/6/10
This is an example of an orographic effect because glaciations created this valley and
pushed out the debris in the form of moraines at the foot of the mountains. Glaciation has
caused the “U” shaped valleys of the Sierra Nevadas, while the Inyo Mountains exhibit
“V” shaped relief from rainfall. The mountains formed by granite uplift.
22. Taken: Afternoon 11/5/10
The Inyo Mountains are a range that sit just east of the Sierra Nevadas. The Inyos are in
the rain shadow of the Sierras, making them more dry. They have lower elevation than
the Sierras and are a fault-block range in the Basin and Range. The Inyos have unique
vegetation from being located in the rain shadow of the Sierras which can be seen by the
pines that sit near the top of the peaks. The mountains date back to the Pre- Cambrian
and Cambrian time periods and helped form the Owens Valley.
23. Taken: Afternoon 11/5/10
There are many alluvial
fans along the bases of
this image of fans at the
base of the Inyo
Mountains. It is named
after the fanned-out
shape that occurs when
water flows from a
higher elevation and
spreads as it reaches
flatter ground. Alluvial
fans are common in the
Basin and Range, and
the boxed areas shows
the shape of an alluvial
24. Diaz Lake
25. Diaz Lake
Taken: Afternoon 11/5/10
Diaz Lake lies between the Sierra Nevada and Inyo Mountains. It is a sag pond that was
created after an earthquake along the Lone Pine Fault in 1872 caused the land to sink. It
is called a sag pond because when the land was displaced by the quake and sunk water
filled the spot.
26. Lone Pine Fault
Taken Afternoon 11/5/10
The Lone Pine Fault is visible here at the base of the Alabama Hills. In 1872 a large
earthquake was cause by vertical and right-lateral displacement along the fault. The
quake caused much destruction to the surrounding towns, was responsible for 29 deaths,
and led to the formation of Diaz Lake.
27. Keough Hot
28. Keough Hot Springs
Interesting geographic features in this area of California are hot springs. There are many
located here in the Long Valley Caldera, and they are heated by underground volcanic
This is an example of one of the Keough Hot Springs we waded in on the trip. These
springs are warmed by hot rocks from volcanic activity underground. Going to pools
farther down stream, I could feel the heat of the water decrease.
30. Mono Lake
31. Mono Lake
Mono Lake is a hyper saline lake in Mono County, California. It is a dead lake (has no
outlet) which increases the salinity and alkalinity of the lake. The water level has
decreased enormously by the tributaries of the Mono Basin being diverted to the Los
Angeles Aqueduct. Mono Lake is famous for its lack of ecology with the exception of
brine shrimp, alkali flies, and importance to migratory birds. Another unique feature of
the lake is the tufa towers that stick out of the water. A movement to restore Mono Lake
was started by David Gaines with his creation of the Mono Lake Committee in 1978.
Mono Lake is a very rare geographic feature, and the story of the lake has been greatly
influenced by humans.
32. Taken: Mid-day 11/6/10
This image shows the 2 well known islands in Mono Lake. Paoha Island, on the right, is a
volcanic island that formed in the 17th Century. The pale look of the island is caused by
clay and other sediments on the island. Negit Island is older than Paoha, and is a
volcanic cone. It is dark because it was composed by lava flows and is a very important
habitat for migratory birds, including the California Gull. The receding water levels in
Mono Lake have created a land bridge to the islands at some points which endangers the
nesting and reproduction of birds by making them vulnerable to predators.
The Islands of Mono Lake
33. After World War II, the city of Los
Angeles wanted more water brought
into the area. The answer the city
found was diverting the tributary
streams of the Mono Basin into the
Los Angeles Aqueduct and moving
the water 350 miles south. With
Mono Lake no longer receiving
freshwater, the lake level dropped.
The image reveals former shorelines
that appeared as the lake steadily
shrank, which can also be seen with
the revealing of the tufa formations.
It is believed that the lake used to be
enormous at the end of the Ice Age.
Strandlines can be seen in the
volcanic hills, and above the “LV” in
Lee Vining (which we saw outside
from Nicely’s). With a large
following that aims to save the lake,
a restoration project is underway to
return some of the water to Mono.
Though the damage is extensive and
the lake will not be back to any
original state, this is a victory for the
Mono Lake Committee.
Former Shorelines of Mono Lake
34. Tufa Formations
One of the most intriguing and unique features of Mono Lake is the tufa
towers that protrude out of the lake and stand on its shores. These formed
when underground freshwater springs entered the lake. This caused the
spring water to react with the alkaline water of the lake. Calcium
carbonate(limestone) forms from the meeting of the two types of water.
Because tufa growth relies on the reaction within the water, they only
expand under the surface. The fact that the tufa are visible above the surface
are evidence of the shrinking lake.
35. Burn Area
One danger is this area of California is wild fires. They can be caused by multiple
reasons including lightning and human action . Sometimes control fires are set
on purpose to maintain the habitat and prevent future further damage by fire.
This photo taken on Panum Crater shows past burn areas.
36. Panum Crater
37. Panum Crater
Panum Crater is a volcanic cone next to Mono Lake (which can be seen in the
background of this photo). It is one of Mono-Craters, the newest mountain range in
North America, and formed only around 600 years ago. The crater formed when magma
heated water under the surface causing an enough pressure to blow off the top of the
land. Cinders shot into the air and came back down ,forming a cinder cone over the
original vent. This is an example of a rhyolitic, plug dome volcano.
38. This image of the Sierra Nevadas, taken from Panum Crater, shows a glaciated valley
and the moraines that formed as a result. A glacier placed pressure on the mountain,
carving out this valley and displacing the till toward the base of the mountain. These
collections of debris look like little hills and are called moraines.
39. June Lake
40. Grant Lake is a reservoir in the June Lake Loop that feeds into Rush Creek. The creek is
supposed to eventually flow into Mono Lake but has been diverted into the Los Angeles
Aqueduct. Grant Lake is the largest lake in the loop, but because of its role as part of the
aqueduct, the water level can vary.
Around the lake are
moraines that were
caused by glaciers in
41. “U” shaped valley
caused by a glacier
This is an closer view of a moraine of the Sierras. A glacier carved out this valley by
pushing debris from the mountain and by forming what looks like hills. The mound
that was deposited is in front of where the glacier was, making it a terminal moraine.
Taken Afternoon 11/6/10
42. Silver Lake
Silver Lake is one of the four lakes in the horseshoe shaped June Lake Loop. The Loop is
a very scenic route whose configuration was molded by a glacier. This lake is popular to
visitors because of its beauty and is used largely for trout fishing.
43. Waterfall visible from shore of Silver Lake
Although it is difficult to see in the image, within the box a waterfall is
highlighted. There are many waterfalls in the scenic June Lake Loop. This is a
smaller one, but some are very large.
44. Convict Lake
45. Picturesque Convict Lake is nestled in the Sierra Nevadas. The name of the lake derives from
a group of convicts who had escaped from Carson City Prison in 1871 and were caught and
hanged at what became Convict Creek. In this picture Paleozoic metamorphic rock is visible.
The rocks are the oldest in the Sierra Mountains, and the image shows the variation of color
in the rocks which are created by chemical changes from heat and pressure.
Taken: Afternoon 11/6/10
The Oldest Rocks in the Sierra Nevadas
46. Lateral Moraine
This photo points out the lateral and terminal moraines visible at Convict Lake. A glacier
carved out this area pushing the debris along the sides in the lateral moraines and in
front in the terminal moraine.
48. Eastern California Museum
Taken Afternoon 11/7/10
As a history buff, I
selected the original
sign at Manzanar s the
most intriguing artifact
at the Eastern
California Museum. I
think that the United
States response to
during World War II is
a fascinating part of the
country’s past. With
Manzanar being the
most famous camp with
books such as Farewell
to Manzanar written
about it, I am surprised
it is not in a more
mainstream museum. I
found it interesting that
it is not far from its
original location and
presented very subtly.
Manzanar is the most famous of the Japanese internment camps opened by the U.S.
Government during World War II. Manzanar is located in the Owens Valley, near Lone
Pine. Almost 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced here before the closing of the
camp in 1945 . The dust and extreme weather were harsh conditions for the people, as
were close living quarters and the initial loss of possessions.
51. Taken: Afternoon 11/7/10
These stone guard houses are some of the few remaining structures at Manzanar. In the
background of this image are the Inyo Mountains. This image also gives an idea of how
barren the land around Manzanar is. After Manzanar was closed in 1945, the inhabitants
were forced to leave and much of the wood used in the buildings at Manzanar was used
to build up Lone Pine.
52. Taken Afternoon 11/7/10
The image is concrete that still stands at Manzanar. Engraved in it are the names of the
Japanese-American men who helped build this structure. Residents of the camp built
the relocation center up to a basically a functioning city that had everything from a
garden to recreational sports.
54. These next photographs contain unusual
events, sightings of wildlife, weather
related phenomena, and added stops.
This image shows the
“wildlife” our class
brought to Convict Lake in
the form of a beaver
Taken: Afternoon 11/6/10
55. Kiran Simmons
Taken: Morning 11/6/10
This was the first sighting of wildlife on the trip, but unfortunately it was a hunted male
deer. We saw this buck at a gas station in Big Pine before we left for Mono Lake. I had
never seen a freshly hunted carcass in person before, but the hunters told us they eat
most of the deer.
56. Taken: Mid-day11/6/10
This was an unusual event the class saw when we got out of the cars at Mono
Lake. We did not know the cause of the fire, but the smoke got less grey and
more black with time. Sometimes control fires are set on purpose, so this could
have been deliberately lit.
The unknown source
of the fire
57. Taken: Mid-day 11/6/10
Another wildlife sighting and unusual event was the amount of dead birds on the
shore of Mono Lake. The workers at the Mono Lake Bookstore did not know the
reason for the phenomenon. This is something that people need to study and be
aware of to see what is happening to the ecosystem at the lake.
58. Kiran Simmons
Taken: Evening 11/6/10
On our way back from the Mammoth area on Saturday, we stopped at Schat’s Bakery
and these ducks were in the stream where we parked. The unique part was that I saw
wild ducks for the first time. They were larger and had a different body shape than
59. Taken: Afternoon 11/7/10
One weather related phenomena we saw on the trip was leaves that had changed color.
It was described that for the leaves to change so profoundly , warm days and cool nights
need to occur. The weather must have been ideal for these conditions because the leaves
were bold colors. This picture from the Eastern California Museum shows the
transitioning colors of the trees.
60. Taken: Afternoon 11/7/10
Another weather related phenomena that occurred while we were on our field trip were
the clouds. The type of clouds above us signified an approaching storm. The whole trip
the group was discussing what type of clouds were in the sky. The clouds also showed
snow falling on Mammoth.
61. Optional Photographs
Me at Convict Lake, 11/6/10
62. This alluvial fan sits at the base of the San Gabriel and is visible by the amount of
building that has occurred on the flat deposit. I have lived in this area my whole life and
never thought of these noticeable features in geographic terms.
63. This solar power plant is a little after Kramer Junction on Highway 395. It is the
largest group of solar panels I have ever seen in person. This is one of the three
power plants owned by the Kramer Junction Company in this area. Together
these sites produce the most commercial solar energy in the world.
64. Along the way, I saw several of these Doppler Radars. This was the only one
connected to a cement structure. The towers are used to collect information from
the atmosphere to make weather predictions.
65. This would be an example of a playa. It is a depression in the ground that is
dried out but has the potential to collect water. There is no outlet for the
water, so it evaporates back out. In this image there actually is some water
in the playa.
Taken: Afternoon 10/9/10
66. These little hills are the leftover material from mining. The ore or mineral
being sought is removed and these tailings are left as waste. These mine
tailings appear to be in the middle of no where off Highway 395. It surprised
me to think that California is still a state that has mining as an industry.
67. Taken: Afternoon 10/9/10
It is slightly difficult to see in the picture, but the Garlock Fault runs along the
base of Tehachapi Mountains. It is a left lateral strike slip fault, the second
longest fault in California, and geologically significant. It borders the Mojave
Desert. It is an unusual fault and has potential to move.
68. Joshua Tree
Taken Evening 10/9/10
It is a little difficult to see because the photo was taken in transit, but the image contains
three major native desert plants. The Joshua Tree is the tallest. The next largest is the
Creosote bushes, and the burrowed grass stays very close to the ground to get moisture.
69. This photo was taken on the bridge over the Los Angeles Aqueduct. I am amazed
that this just runs openly through so much of California. It also was important to
cross because throughout the trip we learned more about the effects the aqueduct
had on many of the places the class visited.
Los Angeles Aqueduct
70. The Owens Dry Lake could almost be passed on the 395 without noticing it. Not too long
ago it was a huge lake in the Owens River Valley. When the City of Los Angeles needed
water in the early 1900s, the Owens Valley land was purchased. Water was sent
hundreds of miles to the city, and eventually the lake was drained. This has had horrible
ecological effects and even caused health problems to residents of the Owens Valley. The
Owens Dry Lake is still a point of controversy. In this picture the white soda ash salts
can be seen on the empty lake bed floor.
71. SETI Towers
Taken: Mid-day 11/6/10
The SETI towers are located between Big Pine and Mono along Highway 395.
They are used to search for extra terrestrial signals. They are placed in the desert
between the Sierras and Inyos to reduce other signals getting in the way.
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