Blooming coastal prairie at Bodega Marine Reserve in California. Image credit: Lobsang Wangdu

California is the product of tumultuous and varied geological activity. The uplift of mountain ranges, regular earthquakes, and tectonic plate collisions have produced a melange of soils and microhabitats. For example, the serpentinite outcroppings scattered across much of the Coast Ranges originated at the boundaries between oceanic tectonic plates. The mineral content of serpentinite is toxic to most plants, fostering the evolution of unique plant species.




Human History