In my previous post about the Pinnacles National Monument/Park, I failed to complete the geology lesson behind its creation during the age of volcanism; the part that I left out is the most amazing element of the landscape that remains today.
The volcano (born of the Neenach Volcanic Complex) originated during The Miocene, close to what is today known as Lancaster, California – approximately 200 miles south of the Pinnacles, along the San Andreas Fault Line. This tectonic movement of the Pacific Plate began about 23 million years ago and continued to slowly, but surely, inch its way northward along the Farallon Plate. The movement is said to have been 1.5cm per year.
The beauty that’s found at the Pinnacles is actually NOT anything that you might expect of an ancient volcano – and that is because over those 23 million years, the sediments have eroded drastically – leaving the aesthetically striking and breathtaking landscape that defines the stark contrast of Mother Nature’s work.
So, in summary: the place is an ancient volcano; or, more like:
what’s left of an ancient volcano after 23 million years of straddling the San Andreas Fault Line; after millions of years of constant strain and movement, weather exposure, erosion, tectonic activity and in the more recent times – pollution and chemical erosion as well. And yet, after everything she has come through and all of the many years of constant geological trauma, the Pinnacles remains as being one of the most majestic and awe-inspiring places on the planet.