The Geology of Mt Diablo
Mt. Diablo offers the second most expansive view in the world which is exceeded only by Tanzania’s 19,341 foot Mt. Kilimanjaro. On this 2-hour excursion, we’ll be accompanied by experienced Mt. Diablo park ranger, Phil Reed, as well as Stanford geology professor, Dr. George Hilley, who will offer unique insight into Mt. Diablo’s geological features and wildlife. The group will meet at 10:00am at the Long Term Parking Lot near the summit, where we will embark on the Mary Bowerman Trail, a 0.75 mile walk that circles the mountain and offers magnificent scenic views in all directions. On a clear day, the mountain offers views as far as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Farallon Islands, and the Sierra Nevadas. There are also many geologic features and plants of interest, including a few fall-flowering wildflowers. The trail traverses a region of the mountain ravaged by a significant wildfire in September 2013, giving the group a glimpse into recent damage and re-growth.
The group should plan to wear hiking boots or treaded sneakers, sunscreen and dress in layers (it can be cold and windy and drizzly near the summit). In addition to camera gear, bring bottled water and feel free to pack a lunch if you’d like to stop and eat at the picnic tables at the end of the hike.
Directions: Please allow 1 hour to drive from the base of the mountain to the Long Term Parking Lot due to heavy bicycle traffic on the two-lane winding road up the mountain. Please note that the parking fee is $10/car. You can use the following addresses to get to the Northgate Park Entrance: 1250 North Gate Rd., Walnut Creek, 94598 and the Southgate Park Entrance: 2626 Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd., Danville 94506. If you have a GPS unit, which gives you directions, the coordinates for the Summit are 37.881769, -121.914260. **Do NOT use: 96 Mitchell Canyon Rd., Clayton 94517 to drive to the summit as there is no road access from this park entrance.
More detailed directions: To get to the meeting point from San Francisco, cross the Oakland Bay Bridge and navigate the maze to get to Highway 24 to Walnut Creek. Go through the Caldecott Tunnel to Walnut Creek and take the first exit (Ygnacio Valley Boulevard) past the Hwy 680 South exit. Then take the first right turn onto Ygnacio Valley Boulevard. Follow Ygnacio Valley Road east for 2.2 miles and turn right on Walnut Avenue (not Walnut Blvd) for 1.6 miles. At the end of Walnut Avenue, turn right on Oak Grove Road briefly and take first turn left onto North Gate Road for 1.3 miles to the Northgate kiosk where you pay your entry/parking fee. Then proceed up North Gate Road for 6.7 miles to the Junction Ranger Station. Then turn left on Summit Road for about 4.2 miles, turning right into the Long Term Parking Lot (brown sign). Do not go all the way up to the summit.
About Dr. George Hilley: “I teach both graduate and undergraduate classes and seminars on the development of mountain belts in tectonically active areas. These courses use both classic field examples, as well as local field excursions in the Santa Cruz Mountains as guides to understanding how active faulting may produce steep topography. I study the landscape’s response to active faulting and folding of the Earth’s crust. My students and I use a wide range of tools to study these processes, such as geologic and geomorphic field studies, and numerical models of tectonic and erosional processes. My research spans a broad range of time and spatial scales, from the development of mountain ranges over millions of years through the development of small landforms and watersheds over 10s-100s of thousands of years. For example, at the scale of entire mountain belts, I study how deformation and erosion within the Andes may be coupled, providing a link between deep earth and atmospheric processes. At the other extreme, I study how active uplift along the San Andreas Fault affects the short-term development of small, ~4-km-long landforms. Finally, I have recently become interested in studying large, slow-moving landslides in urbanized areas (and the hazards they pose) using remote sensing methods such as Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry.”
Reservations: This is a Free event – Please RSVP so we can plan for the group size. We will meet at a designated trail head near a parking lot so that everyone can gather together and then set out with our guide for a wonderful day of learning and socializing.