Blog Profile / Oakland Geology


URL :http://oaklandgeology.wordpress.com/
Filed Under:Academics / Geology
Posts on Regator:335
Posts / Week:0.7
Archived Since:March 16, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Earthquake apps and post-quake observations

Seems like disaster is in the air every October. This year the catastrophe is wildfire in the North Bay, bringing up memories of our own turn in the line of fire this very week in 1991. Yesterday the local paper published an article by Seung Lee that explicitly linked the October fires of 2017 to […]

Post 500

The experts say the greenhouse gases we’ve put in the atmosphere will affect global climate for the next several centuries. Where will we be 500 years from now, once this pulse of carbon dioxide has been drawn down by the seas and soil? What will the post 500 world look like? I’m fond of talking […]

Twenty Oakland rock types in a 30-mile drive

As far as I can tell, Oakland has more rock types within its boundaries than any other city in America. When I added them up for a talk I gave at East Bay Nerd Nite, I counted more than 25, from limestone to blueschist. This 30-mile road trip will take you to most of them, […]

The highest point in Oakland

I have believed — and what’s worse, repeated — that Oakland’s highest point is Grizzly Peak. In fact, the highest point within the city limits is Chaparral Peak, an eminence so subtle you can barely tell it’s there. Let’s look at the 1959 topo map of the high Berkeley Hills. Everything south of the county […]

Sibley sights: Lapilli tuff

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is the site of a small volcanic center that was last active about 10 million years ago. After it fizzled out, the whole thing was gradually buried in younger sediment. Within the last few million years, the action of the Hayward fault squeezed, folded and uplifted this sequence of rocks and […]

Tour of the Fan: Lobe 4

During the eight years I was surveying every sidewalk in Oakland, taking in the geology and geography as I went, I took thousands of pictures. Here’s a baker’s dozen of my favorite shots from the ancient alluvial fan that dominates central Oakland, specifically the large segment I call lobe 4. Every part of the Fan […]

An early look at the Fan

Lots of people love old photographs of familiar places, or old landmarks when they were new. I love old photos of Oakland because they show the land before it was paved over and/or forested. The early California photographer Carleton Watkins was instrumental in saving Yosemite as a public park, simply because his large-scale images let […]

A stroll up Indian Gulch, or Trestle Glen

Once upon a time there was a thriving native encampment near the head of San Antonio Slough, tucked under bountiful oak trees in a valley with a permanent stream. Then the padres of New Spain put the natives behind walls to earn their bread with the sweat of their brows, and a generation later the […]

Well water in use

Once upon a time, we used to produce a lot of our water from local wells, but for the last century we’ve retired them as the aquifers were drawn down or polluted. So I’m always surprised and intrigued to see wells still at work. This is on Willams Street in San Leandro. The location is […]

Coring

With all the construction going on around town, you’ll see lots of drill rigs taking geotechnical cores. This one was at work at 2330 Webster, where the Webster Alexan development will go. Just a few days earlier, a rig was collecting cores in the parking lot at 20th and Telegraph, slated to become one of […]

The smaller creeks of Leona Heights

Last week I lingered over Leona Creek, in the Leona Heights area, but there are three other streams in the land between Horseshoe Creek and Chimes Creek. I’ll label them on the watershed map from 1 to 3, putting the numerals where they enter culverts. Creek 1 passes through the old Crusher Quarry grounds, now […]

The mine drainage of Leona Creek revisited

Over the years I’ve done a lot of poking around Leona Heights, the large hill looming over the south end of the Warren Freeway. You’d think I have a nice photo after all this time, but instead here’s a vertical view from Google Maps, terrain view. It shows the area between Horseshoe Creek, at the […]

Oakland geology ramble 4: Uptown to Montclair

This five-mile urban hike is more of a terrain-and-streams ramble than a bedrock ramble. It climbs over 700 feet, winding through the watersheds that freshen Lake Merritt and traversing some of Piedmont’s wildest land. Although I’ve walked the route both ways, I’ll present it here from west to east. The route goes from the 19th […]

The McKillop landslide: Ten years after

In December 2006, I read a series of news stories about a landslide in Fruitvale, on McKillop Road, that took out a house and threatened two more, so I checked it out and was so impressed I wrote it up for About.com. This house was the victim. And this was its front yard. When I […]

Peridotite-basalt lampposts

The Lakeside Regency Plaza, 1555 Lakeside Drive, is the 15-story condo building next to the Scottish Rite Temple. Built in 1968, it’s definitely of its time yet of enduring taste. I paid it no mind until a few days ago, when I noticed the four artisanal lampposts that flank its driveway. In their own way, […]

HayWired, an imaginary earthquake coming in 2018

Earthquakes are always a surprise, but we can be ready for them. Or, more ready. We can practice on a household basis, whether it’s a simple “Drop, Cover, Hold On” drill or a series of family meetings to go over scenarios — what if Mom’s stuck at work? What if we’re all out of town? […]

Oakland building stones: Serpentinite

In a modest West Oakland neighborhood on Market Street is the modest West Grand Shopping Center. Its ordinary building is clad in rough stone, an exterior treatment similar to the Kaiser Building and many other examples. But at the West Grand Shopping Center, the cladding consists of fist-sized pieces of beautiful serpentine rock. The front […]

Brooklyn Landing, Brooklyn Creek

The first Western inhabitants of this area, the Peralta family, were horse people rather than boat people. They did much of their business, with the mission and the town of San Jose in the South Bay, by land. When they did use boats, it was to transport hides and tallow from their ranch, using an […]

Oakland builders, what are you thinking?

Californians have always known we’re prone to earthquakes. The first Californians didn’t have our worries about it, though, because their structures were small and limber, no larger than a temescal sweathouse. Things changed when the missionaries of New Spain came into the country starting in the late 1700s. When the earthquake of 8 December 1812 […]

Adeline rise

Down at the foot of Adeline Street, past Green Valley Food, past J. K’s Brickhouse, past Magnolia Oakland at 3rd Street, the road ends at the old shoreline. Where the Amtraks roll by was once coastal marsh. The geologic map uses an old pre-earthquake topographic base, so ignore the freeway and find Adeline, running through […]

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