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A Tour of the Central California Ranges
Photos and notes by your About Geology Guide
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Nobody sings the praises of the southern Diablo Range, but there's no better place than San Benito County to get closely acquainted with the rocks of the Coast Ranges, the San Andreas fault zone, and the great Idria mining region. The main reason is that there isn't any traffic, so you can pull over and bring out your rock hammer at whim and at leisure. There are also some unusual small towns along the way.

State route 25 runs down the San Andreas fault zone from Hollister almost all the way to Parkfield. That's a subject for another photo tour. This route crosses the fault and wanders through the contorted strata between it and the Central Valley.

Central California geology: Monterey Bay at upper left, Central Valley at upper right, Big Sur country (Santa Lucia Range) on lower left, Gabilan Range in center (red), New Idria ultramafics in purple. San Andreas fault zone runs straight from upper left to lower right, Salinas Valley downdrop block to its west. Map derived from California State Geologic Map, 1977. Follow along on this enlarged version (opens a separate window).

King City sits at the south end of the Salinas Valley basin, a block whose uplifted side is the Gabilan Range. Try lunch at the brewpub on Broadway, or step into one of dozens of Mexican places nearby.

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