Ed Clifton's picture

The Art of Subduction

LIVING ON THE EDGE -- December's Docent Meeting

Living near the boundary between crustal plates is inherently hazardous.  The great forces involved create explosive volcanoes and great earthquakes.  Tsunamis, which pose a substantial threat to the Pacific Northwest, are of less concern in Central California.  Here our greatest concern is with earthquakes.  Come hear Ed Clifton explore the earthquake history of this area, the nature of ground shaking and measures that can promote safety and mitigate against earthquake damage.  We will also probe the murky area of earthquake prediction.


We who live on the West Coast reside near the interface of huge plates of the earth’s crust. Here, for hundreds of millions of years, the interaction of immense slabs of the earth’s crust has shaped the geology of the region and continues to shape its physiography and with it, climate and habitability.  For much of this time, an oceanic plate collided with the continental plate and slid beneath it in a process called subduction.  The effects of subduction are manifest in many of the West Coast rocks, including the granodiorite that underlies Point Lobos.  The Carmelo Formation also accumulated on a subducting margin, but in an area well above the underplating of the oceanic crust.  Nonetheless, subduction-induced instability is a likely cause of the large-scale tilting of the strata at the Reserve.  

The arrival of another giant oceanic plate 25-30 million years ago changed the region’s geology.  Rather than colliding with the continental plate, the oceanic Pacific Plate slid obliquely along it toward the north-northwest, a relative motion that continues today. The process of subduction, however, continues in the Pacific Northwest, where remnants of the old plate exist.

Master storyteller, Reid Woodward, will us carry back to the world-view of the earliest Californians. So bring your imagination, find a comfortable seat, and get ready to just enjoy listening.


Fred Brown's picture

Mission Statements

To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.
Docent volunteers serve as a visible representative of California State Parks at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve promoting the California State Parks mission.  These four simple words -- preserve, protect, educate and interpret -- sum up the docent experience. 
To advance visitors' enjoyment and understanding of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, to protect its natural environment for future generations and to strengthen the Monterey County network of coastal California State Parks.

Docent Log-in

Docent led walks

  • Sat, 11/28/2015 - 11:00am
    Bird Island Parking Area
    Nelson Balcar
  • Mon, 11/30/2015 - 11:00am
    Information Station
    Nelson Balcar
  • Mon, 11/30/2015 - 1:00pm
    Information Station
    Robert Andonian

Visit pointlobos.org

point lobos logo

School Walks

To schedule a school field trip please contact Melissa Gobell, School Coordinator at:
melissa.gobell@parks.ca.gov  (831) 625-1470

Interested in Volunteering?

Volunteers needed to be interpretive guides for visitors.  Interested?  For training schedule contact:  Melissa Gobell, Docent Coordinator  melissa.gobell@parks.ca.gov  (831) 625-1470