GEOLOGY 

Del Puerto Canyon, located in the California Coast Ranges, provides a window into the Earth's mantle, while passing through more than ten miles of crustal material. The Great Valley began as a forearc basin, a sequence of sedimentary layers lying on oceanic crust between a subducting trench and the edge of the North American continent. The sediments were derived from the erosion of the Ancestral Sierra Nevada, which at the time was a string of volcanoes not unlike the Andes or Cascades of today. Huge volcanoes were erupting every few decades, while large rivers were constantly eating away at the mountains.

 

A diverse group of dinosaurs roamed the forests on the flanks of the volcanoes including hadrosaurs (duckbilled dinosaurs). Raptors and carnivores similar to T-rex and Deinonychus (the American version of the velociraptors) lurked in the trees and along the rivers. Like the adjacent coastline, the sea teemed with life. There were creatures much like those of today, clams and snails (pelecypods and gastropods), fish, and sharks. And then there were the sea-going reptiles: the Plesiosaurs (the suspected "Loch Ness Monster" creature, unfortunately), the Ichthyosaurs (large dolphin-like reptiles), and Mosasaurs (35-foot-long swimming Komodo Dragon relatives).

 

A new species of Mosasaur was discovered by Al Bennison just a few miles away from Del Puerto Canyon. Like the adjacent coastline, the sea teemed with life. There were creatures much like those of today, clams and snails (pelecypods and gastropods), fish, and sharks. And then there were the sea-going reptiles: the Plesiosaurs (the suspected "Loch Ness Monster" creature, unfortunately), the Ichthyosaurs (large dolphin-like reptiles), and Mosasaurs (35-foot-long swimming Komodo Dragon relatives). A new species of Mosasaur was discovered by Al Bennison just a few miles away from Del Puerto Canyon. The exposure of the fault zone cuts diagonally has been described the structural relationships to us, and pointed out that ammonite fossils (cephalopods related to the Pearly Nautilus and the Octopus) could sometimes be found in the shale on the right side of the fault. 

known in this area as the Coast Range Ophiolite, one of the most complete such sequences in all of California.

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