A hundred and forty million years ago, Lake County, a part of Northern California, began with another of the ear-splitting rumbles that were a part of a continuing grand archaeological planet-wide show. Earth’s rocky mantle slid about over the molten core with ear-splitting groans and titanic shudderings. Tectonic plates rose and fell. Sections of the planet shifted here and there as they changed the form and shape and location of continents, all during the slow passage of time, like giant playing cards dealt by a sleepy cosmic dealer.
The Pacific Plate began a slow slide beneath the Farallon Plate, where California would one day be. What was left of the broken and shattered remains, as the rocky contest moved northward, became the San Andreas Fault. The Grand Theater of Mother Earth played to an empty house, as she continued her endless slow modifications and alterations.
San Andreas and The Creation of Mountain Ranges
Three million years ago, the San Andreas Fault’s massive, slow-motion hiccup caused the land east of the western edge of the Pacific Plate to rise up. The rocks, bunched in sections like pleats of an accordion, formed a parallel series of three major mountain ranges; the Outer Coastal Range, that stretches from Mendocino to Bodega Bay; the Mayacamus Mountains that reach from Cow Mountain to Mt. St. Helena; and the Inner Coastal Range, which lines the Sacramento Valley like watchmen on eternal duty.
San Andreas woke again two million years ago. This time the fault’s rumble of destruction split the center of Lake County like a wishbone. The Clear Lake Basin was created; a fifty-mile long volcanic field. That field is nine miles wide and eighteen miles long. The bubbling magma cauldron filling the field is a mere four-and-a-third miles beneath our feet; a distance no more than an hour’s walk.
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