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5 Geological Outings to Celebrate Earth Science Week

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Marin Headlands, looking south (Michael Fraley/Flickr)

This post was written by Masha Pershay, KQED Learning intern.

Earth Science Week was organized by the American Geosciences Institute almost two decades ago in order to help people understand and appreciate the earth sciences. This is the perfect time to learn how the atmosphere, the oceans, and earth processes have shaped—and are continuing to shape—our planet. To celebrate this year's Earth Science Week (October 9-15), explore some of geologist Andrew Alden’s geological outings around the Bay Area, and learn the history of rock formations beneath some of the most iconic local landscapes.

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Shell Beach
This beach in Sonoma County is of particular interest for geologists because of the wide range of rocks found here, which have been grouped into a category called Franciscan Melange. Learn how the subduction zones and tectonic mixing affected the history of the rocks on Shell Beach.

Geological Outings Around the Bay: San Bruno Mountain
Just south of the city of San Francisco, San Bruno Mountain not only offers spectacular views of the bay, but also holds a lot of information about the geological history of the Bay Area. Study the complete anatomy of San Bruno Mountain with the special map provided in this article.

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Los Trancos Open Space
The San Andreas Fault runs through Los Trancos, making it the perfect location for observing this earthquake trail and surrounding landscape features. Using lidar, a laser-based mapping technology, geologists are able to create detailed topographic images of the San Andreas Fault.


Geological Outings Around the Bay: Marin Headlands
The Marin Headlands are known for their distinctive cliffs and iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as visually stunning rocks called ribbon chert. Learn about the different types of rocks and minerals that make up the Marin Headlands.

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Natural Bridges
Located off the coast of Santa Cruz, Natural Bridges is a fabulous place to observe rocks with intricate patterns that date back as far as 10 million years. Learn about the different processes that rocks undergo throughout their lifetime.

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