Pacific Coast Highway: Monterey to Morro Bay

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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California Coast Without doubt one of the great scenic drives of the whole world.

17 Mile Drive

The Monterey Peninsula is, unusually for the Coast Ranges, granite. It is, in fact, part of the southern Sierra Nevada or Mojave block translated northward by the San Andreas Fault. There is no granite in the Coast Ranges immediately east of the fault for hundreds of kilometers north and south.

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The 17-Mile Drive is a privately owned toll road that winds between golf courses and large estates. Some beaches are favorite basking spots for seals.

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California Poppies

California Coast The state flower of California.

The amazing thing is that these true members of the poppy family grow in the midst of 36 million Californians - the people who tried smoking bananas in the 1960's - and nobody has figured out a way to make anything mind-altering out of them!

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Point Lobos 

Location of the famous and oft-photographed "Lone Cypress."

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Carmel to Point Sur

California Coast Note at least three terrace levels due to uplift.
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Point Sur

California Coast Point Sur is an outstanding example of a large offshore stack joined to the mainland by a tombolo, a sand and gravel bar that accumulates in the sheltered lee of the stack.

In some of the sheltered valleys south of Big Sur are the southernmost coast redwoods.

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Point Sur to San Simeon

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California Coast Raised sea stack on an old terrace near the entrance to Hearst San Simeon mansion ("Hearst Castle")

Morro Rock

California Coast Morro Rock is the westernmost of a chain of small intrusions that stretch west from San Luis Obispo to the coast. A number of others form the serrated ridge to the left of the rock.

Below: like Point Sur, Morro Rock is an excellent example of an offshore stack connected to the mainland by a tombolo.

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Photos taken 24-25 June, 2002


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Created 7 April 2003, Last Update 01 July 2012

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