Monday, April 22, 2013

An Excerpt from James Needham, and Early Geologic Explorer to my Area

This image I took with an old Minolta 35 mm film camera, with T-Max film. 
I developed the film myself. This is Morongo Valley.

An Early Last Century Exploration of my Local Desert

An Excerpt from a book written near the turn of the last century, almost 100 years ago, Adventures in Scenery by James Needham. I believe it is out of print, but it can be found at University archives.

This is a geologists account of early California. It mentions the proterozoic Gneiss that surrounds my house in Morongo Valley. The typos are from whoever archived or published this old text. Enjoy!

"To the west of Palm Springs is San Gorgonio Pass, discovered 
in 1853, and hailed as the long looked for pass through the 
mountains by which a railroad from the east might reach the 
Pacific Coast. To the north is San Gorgonio Peak, at the east- 
ern end of the San Bernardino range, and to the south is the 
majestic Mount San Jacinto. The "pass" is a mountain valley 
formed by faulting of the rocks of the earth's crust. This break 
in the crust of the earth is the great San Andreas rift, which 
extends south and east of San Gorgonio Pass and north and west 
to and beyond San Francisco. Movement along this rift farther 
northwest, particularly near San Francisco, caused the earth- 
quake of April 18, 1906. Many faults or breaks in the crust 
of the earth occur in this region. The Morongo Valley, which 
separates the San Bernardino mountain range from the Little 
San Bernardino range, is a "mountain valley" formed by fault- 
ing. The fault of this latter valley is crosswise of the original 
drainage of Little, Big, and Dry Morongo creeks, which enter 
the valley from the San Bernadino mountains from the north- 
west. The waters of these creeks sink into the alluvium of the 
valley and the streams disappear, re-appearing again at the lower 
side of the valley and then flow over the rock-bottomed gorges to 
the Colorado Desert. The walls of Morongo Canyon are about 
300 feet high and are nearly vertical. The rock walls are com- 
posed of granitic gneiss beautifully laminated and very much 
distorted, twisted, and folded. The broad plain between "White- 
water River and Morongo Canyon is known as Conchilla Desert. 
It is thickly covered with many varieties of cactus, especially 
the large picturesque barrel cactus, and for this reason it has 
been labeled the Devil's Garden! Probably more cactuses, or 
more species of cactus, are observable here than anywhere else 
on the Colorado Desert. A Joshua Tree National Monument 
has been established in the Morongo Valley. It is worthy of 
note that a movement is on foot to establish a Joshua Tree park" 

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