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Santa Cruz Mountains

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Santa Cruz Mountains

When it comes to geology, nature itself and most all of planet earth brings great interest to me, from the configurations of land formations, to the stars night sky, and all the other wonders that it possesses. The Santa Cruz Mountains have always intrigued me, after numerous trips over the hills to visit Santa Cruz and on hikes and a visit to science camp in elementary school. The mountains can be seen from almost all parts of the Santa Clara Valley and the mystery it holds greatly adds to the curiosity, with the slew of legend and counter cultural presence mixed together give the entire area a vibe all on its own. From beauty to history, the rich and vast area has much to offer.

The Santa Cruz Mountains are a range of mountains spanning from south of San Francisco to the end of Salinas, California. The mountains act as a border to separate the Pacific Ocean from the San Francisco Bay, and act as the westward side of the Santa Clara Valley. The 80 mile span across the Peninsula is noted for its highest peak, the Loma Prieta Peak sitting at 3786 Ft, and also Mt. Umunhum at 3486 Ft (PeakList). The peak of the Loma Prieta Peak, located on the San Andreas Fault Line, was the epicenter for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which registered at 6.9 on the Richter scale, causing devastation and damage all over the Bay Area. The mountain span possesses a drop off on the eastern side of the range as is moves north towards San Francisco, most notable in the Saratoga and Woodside areas alongside Highway 280. The area is well known for its wineries scattered throughout the area, in the area such as Boulder Creek, Scotts Valley, and Almaden. The Historic Old Almaden Winery was originally located at the eastern side of the mountains, and the entire region was declared as an American Vitacultural Area for it top quality wine production (SantaCruzWineTours).

The make up of area is rich with an array of plants, animals and minerals, with many particular to area. The Almaden Quicksilver Mines, large deposits of quicksilver have been excavated from area, along with vast amounts of limestone, which is used to make cement, has been removed from Pacific Ocean alongside the range. Its position and location provide a ripe growing area for coastal redwood, a tree which can be found all over the area due to the moist climate from ocean exposure (Clark). Though the region is predominantly known for its redwoods, other trees such as the California Bay Laurel, Douglas Fir, and Pacific Madrone can all be found in the area. In areas of higher elevation, Manzanita plants along with other drought resistant plants can be found on the sunnier peaks of the mountains. In these higher warmer areas, Rattle snakes can be found as common inhabitants, as chipmunks, raccoons, foxes, species of deer such as the California Mule Deer, as well as mountain lions and bobcats. The mountain range receives around 50 inches of rainfall a year, with the majority of it coming between the months of November and April respectively. The Rain Shadow Effect is also highly seen on the eastern side of the hills, with only around 15 inches of rain making it way through the redwoods. During the winter months, the climate reaches the low thirties (F) and highs in the lower seventies, with summer temperatures ranging from the upper eighties (F0 to the low fifties at night (Anderson).

The area itself is also rich with its cultural connections and links to society. The mountain range is site

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