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A Tale of Two Canyons

Slip into the Deep with Ed Clifton at our September Docent meeting and explore the submarine canyons lurking off our coast.  Submarine canyons remain among the most baffling large-scale features on the planet.  Their origins and what transpires within them are shrouded in mystery.  This presentation focuses on two familiar submarine canyons:  the contemporary Monterey Submarine Canyon and the ancient submarine canyon that filled with what today is called the Carmelo Formation.  Each of these provides a different view of life and death in these enigmatic pathways to the deep ocean.

Monterey Canyon with its tributary Carmel and Soquel Canyons is the largest submarine canyon on the U.S. West Coast.  It is also one of the most studied undersea canyons in the world.  Recent studies by researchers at MBARI have shown that within the upper reaches of this canyon the canyon-floor sediment, long thought to be inactive, is remarkably mobile.

No one has seen, nor is likely to see, a large powerful current sweeping through the full extent of a canyon.  Conglomerate in the Carmelo Formation, however, provides an indication of the immense energy involved in a giant turbidity current.

The origin of these great features remains speculative.  Monterey Canyon appears to be a surprisingly young (geologically) feature, perhaps originating in the last 2 million years.  I find it likely that the explanation of their origin will lie in phenomena that transcend our current human experience.  Life, Death, Rocks and Ed -- who could ask for more?

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M.M. is so pleased with all the docent support for sales at Info.  Thank all of you.  Please remember to hang out the sweatshirts and T-shirts even if the weather is warm.  You never know if a visitor will want a souvenir or gift.  If they don't see it, they won't know we have it available.  M.M. :>)

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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

  • Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00pm
    Information Station
    Daniel Turner
  • Thu, 08/28/2014 - 3:00pm
    Whalers Cabin
    Daniel Turner
  • Sat, 08/30/2014 - 10:00am
    Information Station
    Rick Pettit


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Scheduled School Walks

Check out the school walks that have been reserved by schools on the website

Interested in Volunteering?

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