Geology 15                                                                                         

West Valley College                                                                             R. Lopez


Study Question 1

Natural Provinces of California


The first step in learning about the geology of California is learning its geography.


1)      On a sketch a map of California, be able to outline the natural provinces, and name them.

2)      Name at least two famous valleys in the Basin and Range province of California.

3)      Why is the Basin and Range so arid?

4)      What is the general geologic structure of the Sierra Nevada?

5)      What was the tectonic setting of Mesozoic California and the Sierra Nevada Batholith?

6)      What is the approximate thickness of sedimentary rocks beneath the central Great Valley, and what was the source of the sediments.

7)      When was the largest historical earthquake in California, where did it occur, and what was its geological significance?

8)      What two major factors may have played a role in the 1980 Mammoth Lakes earthquake swarm?

9)      What are horst and grabens?  What are normal faults? What type of stress is associated with normal faults?

10)  What are range front faults? What is the significance of the Owens Valley Quake of 1872?

11)  What are Pleistocene lakes?  What two lines of evidence support high water stands in the basins of the Basin and Range?

12)  The rocks of the Klamath province are most like those of what other province?

13)  What age and type of rocks occur in the Klamath province? What are accreted terranes?  What is an ophiolite?

14)  What is the general age and rock type found in the Cascade Range and the Modoc Plateau, and why are the landforms in these provinces so different?

15)  What is the plate tectonic setting of the Cascade Range?

16)  What tectonic plate is subducting off of northern California to form the California Cascades?

17)  Why is the Modoc Plateau a plateau? What are fissure eruptions?

18)  What major geologic structures define the NW and SW boundaries of the Mojave Desert?

19)  The Colorado Desert province is the on-land extension of what major geologic structure (see p. 392)?

20)  Is the Salton Trough below sea level?  What is the geologic structure of the Salton Trough?

21)  What evidence do the Salton Buttes have that supports the structure implied for the question above?

22)  How did the Salton Sea form? (see page 243)

23)  What faults border the NE and SW boundaries of the Salton Trough?

24)  Rocks of the Peninsular Range are most like what other province?  This implies that the Peninsular Ranges also had a _______ tectonic setting.

25)  What is the obvious, most unusual feature of the Transverse Ranges province?

26)  What is a restraining bend.  Is the Big Bend a restraining or releasing bend?  Be able to name some of the ranges in the Transverse Ranges.

27)  What major geologic structure dominates the Coast Ranges?

28)  Be able to trace the general trace of the San Andreas Fault through California.

29)  Where is the Carrizo Plain, and what geologic feature is it famous for (p.317)?

30)  Where does the San Andreas Fault cross Highway 17?