SFGATE: The head-spinning geology of the Sierra Nevada and its many micro mountain ranges

News article with quotes from the Director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Jim Faulds.

SFGATE, Dec. 5, 2021, Julie Brown

I was recently driving northbound on Highway 395, headed home after spending Thanksgiving in Southern California. I’ve driven this road countless times, traversing the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada from mountains to ocean and back again. The view never grows old. 

As an earthling, I sometimes find it hard to grasp the full magnitude of the planet’s most expansive features, like this 400-mile-long mountain range. This is why I love maps, because it helps me visualize and connect with things that are so much bigger than me, at a scale that’s hard to fathom otherwise. It’s why I fell in love with rock climbing, because climbing smooth granite and holey volcanic stone was a means to discover all the textures and features of different kinds of rock. It’s also why Highway 395 is my all-time favorite road, because it provides such a dramatic, holistic, panoramic view of some of the highest mountains in the country — including Mount Whitney, with her summit clocking in at 14,505 feet in elevation. Isn’t it wild that a person can see the tallest mountain in the lower 48 from the front seat of a car speeding 60 miles per hour on a highway, so many miles below the summit? 

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