Machete Ridge in Pinnacles National Monument

December 19, 2006


Provided by: Tim Martin, Greensboro Day School
Summary authors & editors: Tim Martin

Rising over 500 feet (152 m) above the valley floor, the photo above shows Machete Ridge located in Pinnacles National Monument (near Soledad, California). This dramatic monolith of poorly consolidated rhyolite breccia is typical of the geology found within the park. Pinnacles National Monument is a unique tribute to active plate tectonics. The towering rock structures found here are the northern half of the Neenach Volcano. Split by the San Andreas Fault, the other half of the volcano is located near Lancaster California, nearly 200 miles (320 km) to the south. Since erupting nearly 23 million years ago, earthquake faulting has displaced and erosion has sculpted this unique landscape. In addition to outstanding geologic features, the park is home to over 400 species of bees (largest diversity anywhere on earth), and is a re-introduction site of California condors.

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