Geology Cafe
California
Geography, Geology, Hazards, and Natural History
This website presents selected maps and reference materials about California that are available free on the Web. Note that many thousands of publications exist that deal with California geography, geology, and natural resources and hazards, and many of these can be found with simple topical searches on the Web. Hard-copy materials can be identified and borrowed from libraries.
Click on any of the fast links below:
/ Geography / Physiographic Provinces / Parks / Geology / Minerals / Energy /
/ Natural Hazards / Earthquakes / Volcanoes / Landslides / Wildfires / Tsunamis /
/ Water Resources / Climate / Floods / Drought / Biology & Environment /
/ Population & Urban Issues /
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Geography

Maps of selected areas, scales, themes, and formats can be found in several ways. Many maps can be view on-line or purchased via http://ask.usgs.gov or by calling 1-888-ASK-USGS. Below are web links that provide access to standard USGS map series that include California:

The National Map (http://nationalmap.usgs.gov) - this interactive website is useful for generating maps at many scales with multiple data sets including shade relief, topographic maps, roads, cultural features, boundaries, water resources, aerial photography (orthoimagery) and other data sets.

The National Atlas ( http://nationalatlas.gov) - provides access to more basic interactive maps with varying themes including agriculture, biology, climate, environment, geology, history, people, transportation, and water. Many of the maps below are modified from the map data sets available from the National Atlas.

A fast search for a map can be done by using the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) http://geonames.usgs.gov.
A search on GNIS will give you topographic map indexing, longitude& latitude, and feature information, plus gives you direct access to topographic maps and aerial photography via the National Map and other sources.

Access USGS - San Francisco Bay and Delta
http://sfbay.wr.usgs.gov/
This website is a portal to many information resources about the Bay Area. Digital map data for the San Francisco Bay Area can be found on the Bay Area Regional Database: http://bard.wr.usgs.gov; historic USGS topographic of the San Francisco Bay region can be found at: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/histopo/.

Shaded Relief Maps of California
Click on the maps to see larger versions.
Shaded Relief Map   Shaded Relief Map (Gray Scale)   State Border Map of California  
Shaded Relief Map of California
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  Shaded Relief Map of California (Gray Scale)
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  Draw-What-You-Want-On- California Map
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Physiographic Provinces of California

Physiographic Provinces of California
  Physiographic Provinces of California (With Geology)   Click here to see information on California's physiographic provinces:

Basin and Range
Cascade Range
Coast Ranges
Colorado Desert
Great Valley
Klamath Mountains
Modoc Plateau
Mojave Desert
Peninsular Ranges
Sierra Nevada
Transverse Ranges

Physiographic Provinces of California
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  Physiographic Provinces of California
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  See the California Geological Survey website on physiographic provinces:
California GeoTour: An Index to On-line Geologic Field Trip Guides of California http://www.consrv.ca.gov/cgs/geotour/
 
California's Parks and Public Lands

California's Parks and Public Lands

  California's Parks and Public Lands
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Note that large sections of land in California not show on this map are managed by other land trust organizations, and Federal, state, and local governments. Examples include military reservation, Indian reservations, The Nature Conservancy, open space reserves, county and city parks, transportation, water and utilities companies, agricultural and industrial institutions, universities, and many others.

Finding information about land ownership, land access, and land use policies can be challenging even to professionals. A good place to start is with a local chamber of commerce.
  Selected Federal and
State Agencies


National Park Service

http://www.nps.gov

Bureau of Land Management

http://www.blm.gov

National Forest Service

http://www.fs.fed.us/

US Fish & Wildlife Service
http://www.fws.gov/

California State Parks
http://www.parks.ca.gov/
 
Geology of California

California has formed over the last billion years of Earth's history. The oldest rocks exposed in California are exposed in the Death Valley and Mojave Desert regions and represent ancient oceanic crust and marine platform sediments that accumulated next to the continental margin of California. An ancient volcanic arc developed along the western edge of North America starting about 250 million years ago and continue through the Mesozoic Era (to about 70 million years ago). Today, the core of this ancient volcanic mountain range are exposed in the Sierra Nevada and throughout Southern California. The Great Valley and Coast Ranges regions are underlain by rocks that slowly assembled from oceanic crust and from sediments deposited in the ocean basin next to the continent. The by rocks were transport and accreted onto the continental margin by forces associated with plate tectonics and later by motion along great fault systems, including the San Andreas Fault. Forces that shaped the earth in the past are still occurring today, as best demonstrated by California's earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods, and other natural events, both great and subtle, that, over long periods of time, have shaped the surface of the landscape on which we live.

Geologic Map of California
  The best source to find geologic maps of California (or any location) is to search the National Geologic Map Database: http://ngmdb.usgs.gov.

Geologic maps and information can also be found on these websites:

California Geologic Survey:
http://www.consrv.ca.gov/cgs/

San Francisco Bay Region Geology (USGS):
http://sfgeo.wr.usgs.gov/
This website provides links to geologic maps and information for all counties in the San Francisco Bay Region.

Geologic history of Southern California
http://geologycafe.com/geologic_history/
This website contains bibliographies and links to maps and reports about the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region and Southern California.
Geologic Map of California
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Mineral Resources of California


Minerals Yearbooks for the Mineral Industry of California

http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/state/ca.html
This website provides descriptions of the sources and uses of mineral resources through links through the Minerals Yearbook and other sources.

Mineral Production (California Geological Survey)
http://www.consrv.ca.gov/cgs/geologic_resources/mineral_production/index.htm
This website provides information about mineral production in California and includes a map showing the location of major mineral resource production in California.

Energy Resources of California

The California Energy Commission

http://www.energy.ca.gov/
This website provides links to information about all of California's energy resources including emerging energy technologies and alternative and renewable resources.

Natural Oil and Gas Seeps of California
http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/seeps/
Natural oil and gas seeps have helped geologists study and locate many of the oil and gas fields of California. This website has maps showing the locations of oil and gas seeps, and the location of oil and gas fields in California.

The Plus Side of Volcanoes - Geothermal Energy
http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/LivingWith/PlusSide/geothermal.html


Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the San Joaquin Basin Province of California, 2003
http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2004/3043/fs-2004-3043.html

Natural Hazards of California

Geographic Distribution of Major Hazards in the U.S.

http://www.usgs.gov/themes/hazard.html
 
Natural Hazards
http://www.usgs.gov/themes/factsheet/093-99/

Earthquake Hazards of California

USGS Earthquake Hazards
(http://earthquake.usgs.gov)
This is the primary resource page for information and research related to earthquakes and seismology.
Major Faults of California
Major Faults of California
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  Major Faults of California
Major Faults of California
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  California Faults (blank)
California's Faults (blank)

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Maps of Recent Earthquake Activity in the United States:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/

Visit the ever-popular USGS "Quake" website to see information about the daily earthquake activity in California and Nevada.

Earthquake History of California
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/?region=California

Earthquake Probability Map for San Francisco Bay Area

http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/research/seismology/wg02/
 
The San Andreas Fault System, California (USGS Professional Paper 1515)
http://geologycafe.com/california/pp1515/
This website is an online recreation of the classic book printed in 1990 entitled The San Andreas Fault System, California: Robert E. Wallace, Editor, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1515. This book is both a technical and exhaustive resource of information about the San Andreas Fault and is an essential companion to all newly-published research about the fault system.

Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country: Your Handbook For the San Francisco Bay Region
http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2005/15/
This general interest publication provides information about San Francisco Bay region earthquakes (cause, history, probabilities, effects) and provides detailed information about how to be prepared when a major earthquake happens. The guide identifies specific steps to improve your safety before, during, and following an earthquake. This "must read" document provides sound advice for anyone living in a potential disaster zone.

Where's the San Andreas Fault? A Guidebook to Tracing the Fault on Public Lands in the San Francisco Bay Region

http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2006/16/
This field guide provides descriptions of the section of the San Andreas Fault that ruptured in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Descriptions of places the public can go range from the South Bay regions near Holister, San Juan Bautista, throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains between San Jose and San Francisco, and Point Reyes National Seashore. Introductory materials include an overview of the San Andreas Fault System, geology, landscape features, and plant communities that reveal information about the underlying geology.

3D glassesWhere's the Hayward Fault? A Green Guide to the Fault

This field guide provides descriptions of landscape and urban features along the Hayward Fault in California's East Bay region. The "Green Guide" title highlights that all stops on this field trip are accessible by public transportation (with alternatives to car travel). The Hayward Fault is one of the nation's most dangerous earthquake faults because of its urban setting. Many often subtle features reveal the trace of the fault across the land's surface. The Hayward Fault is a common destination for field trips in the San Francisco Bay region.
View or print full version of the website as a non-3D e-book (.pdf format; 13.1 MB)
: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2008/1135/

Faults in Southern California
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/sca/sca_faults.pdf
This website provides detailed information about major active faults in Southern California.

Quaternary Faults and Fold Database of the United States

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/qfaults/
This website contains information on faults and associated folds in the United States that are believed to be sources of M>6 earthquakes during the Quaternary (the past 1,600,000 years) . Maps of these geologic structures are linked to detailed descriptions and references.

National Seismic Hazard Maps
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/hazards/
Shake Map for the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906   Shake Map for the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989  
Modified Mercalli Intensity Maps for the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Plotted in ShakeMap Format

http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1135/
This website has interactive view of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake compared with other California earthquake including the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

The Severity of an Earthquake
http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/earthq4/severitygip.html
The severity of an earthquake can be expressed in terms of both intensity and magnitude. However, the two terms are quite different, and they are often confused. This website explains the differences.

Earthquake related topics
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics.php


Earthquake Intensity Map for the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 (ShakeMap)
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  Earthquake Intensity Map for the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989
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Volcano Hazards of California


California Volcano Observatory
http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/calvo/

California Volcanoes and Volcanics
http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/California/framework.html

This website provides links to reports, summaries, maps, and images of most of California's volcanoes, volcanic and geothermal areas.

America's Volcanic Past - California
http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/LivingWith/VolcanicPast/Places/volcanic_past_california.html
This website provides many useful links to California's volcanoes and volcanic areas.

Potential Hazards from Future Volcanic Eruptions in California
http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/California/Hazards/Bulletin1847/table_holocene_volcanoes.html
This report provides summary of Holocene (about 10,000 years ago to present) eruptive activity and probable greatest hazards from future eruptions at volcanic centers in California

Volcanoes and Volcanic Areas of California
Volcanoes and Volcanic Areas Map of California  
Amboy Crater-Lavic Lake Volcanic Area

Cascade Range Volcanic Province
Clear Lake-Sonoma Volcanics
Coso Volcanic and Geothermal Area
Death Valley National Park 3D glasses
Devils Postpile National Monumment
Golden Trout Creek Volcanic Area
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lava Beds National Monument 3D glasses
Long Valley Caldera
Mammoth Mountain
Medicine Lake Volcanic Field
Mojave National Preserve 3D glasses
Mono-Inyo Craters
Mount Shasta Volcano 3D glasses
Pinnacles National Park 3D glasses
Salton Buttes Lava Domes and Salton Sea Geothermal Area
Sutter Buttes


(click on the 3D glasses to see 3D image tours of these volcanic areas)
Map of volcanic tephra deposits in western U.S.  
Volcanoes and Volcanic Areas Map of California
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  Aerial distribution of 4 Upper Quaternary tephra layers over the western United States
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Landslide Hazards of California
California's Landslide Hazards  
USGS Landslide Hazards Program
http://landslides.usgs.gov/
This website provides current information about landslide hazards for the nation, including California. Links are provided to maps, publications, and images of landslides and associated disasters.

Landslide Types and Processes
http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2004/3072/fs-2004-3072.html
This website provides a good introduction to types of landslides and mass movement associated with gravity and stream floods.

National Landslide Overview Map of the United States
http://landslides.usgs.gov/learning/nationalmap/
This interactive map show landslide and flood hazard areas of the United States, including California (and was used in generating "California's Landslide Hazards" Map - show here to the right).

Map Showing Inventory and Regional Susceptibility for Holocene Debris Flows, and Related Fast-Moving Landslides in the Conterminous United States
http://pubs.usgs.gov/mf/1999/2329/

This map shows debris flow hazard areas of the United States, including California.
California's Landslide Hazards
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Wildfire Hazards of California

National Interagency Fire Center

http://www.nifc.gov/
The NIFC has wildfire information, current fire information for all states, and fire-safety educational resources.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire)
http://www.fire.ca.gov/


Coastal and Marine Hazards

Western Coastal & Marine Geology (USGS)
http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov
This website provides access to information about scientific research in the coastal and offshore areas of California and other states, including marine earthquake, tsunami and other submarine hazards and processes.

Tsunamis & Earthquakes

http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/tsunami/
This website provides information about USGS tsunami research and links to information websites about the origins of tsunamis and QuickTime animations of tsunamis in the Pacific region including a recreation of the probable tsunami associated with the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

Water Resources of California

USGS Water Resources of California

http://ca.water.usgs.gov/
This is the website for the USGS Water Resources Division, California Office. It provides a comprehensive list of links to all water-related topics and data related to water resources in California.

USGS Ground Water Information Pages

http://water.usgs.gov/ogw/pubs.html
This website focuses of issues and resources related to water underground across the nation, including California.
Water Resources Map of California   Water Resources and Shaded Relief Map   Water Resources and  Precipitation Map of California  
Water Resources Map of California
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  Water Resource Map of California (With Relief)
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  Water Resources Map of California (with Precipitation)
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Average Annual Precipitation Map of California   Average Annual Precipitation Map of California (With Relief)   Average Annual Precipitation Map of California (with Reilef and Water)  
Average Annual Precipitation Map of California
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  Average Annual Precipitation Map of CA (With Relief)
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  Average Annual Precipitation Map (with Relief and Water)
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Climate of California
   
Past Climate and Vegetation Changes in the Southwestern United States

http://geochange.er.usgs.gov/sw/impacts/biology/pastclim/
This website provides information about climate change through the late Pleistocene Epoch to the Present. It illustrates changes in land cover, biology, and the extent of great lakes that covered the Great Basin and southern California through the last Ice Age and modern global warming.

Investigating Climate Change of Western North America
http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/climate-change/index.html
This USGS fact sheet provides discussion how the California Current in the Pacific Ocean drives the climate of the western United States.

Deserts: Geology and Resources

http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/deserts/
This general interest publication defines what is a desert, types of desert and desert landscape features, and processes that form desert landscape features, and how the Earth's atmospheric system influences aridity.

USGS Climate and Land-Use Changes website
http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/
This more technical resource website describes climate change research at the USGS, but contains useful links to many climate investigations and publications.
Late Pleistocene Map of California
Late Pleistocene Map of California
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California's Weather

California State Information (Weather and Climate data from NOAA, National Weather Service)
http://inwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/ca/ca.html
Weather and climate information are gathered and compiled by the National Weather Service (a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]. This website provides access to satellite and radar images, hourly and short term reports by city, State forecasts, weather summaries, climatic data, special weather and watches, and other public information.

Floods of California

California Department of Water Resources, Division of Flood Management, California Data Exchange Center
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/
This website provides access to information about current river conditions with access to resources useful for predicting flood conditions (including snow pack, reservoir data, weather forecasts, and much more). It also provides access to all the major Federal (including NOAA and USGS), state and local water agencies' websites.

Droughts of California

Drought Preparedness (California Department of Water Resources)
http://www.cadroughtprep.net/
This website provides links to information about past, present, and potential future drought conditions in California.
 
Biological and Environmental Information for California
California's Areas of Special Biological Significance (California Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Resources Control Board, Ocean Standards website.
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/ocean/asbs_map.shtml
Forest Cover Map of California   Forest Cover Map of California (With Relief)   California Wildlife
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/
The California Department of Fish & Game

California Native Plant Society
http://www.cnps.org/

This society website has image galleries and links to resources about native plants and habitats throughout California.
Forest Cover Map of California
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  Forest Cover Map of California (With Relief)
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Population and Urban Issues in California

California is the most populous state in the country. Although California's percentage growth rate is not the highest in the county, the total number of people immigrating to the state remains the highest in the nation. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest metropolitan region in the nation, and the San Francisco Bay Area is 5th. Sixteen California cities rank in the top 100 most populous cities in the country. Click here to see 2000 Census statistics about California and its largest metropolitan areas.
California's Population Density By County   California's Population (With Major Cities)   California's Interstates and Highways  
California's Population Density By County
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  California's Population (With Major Cities)
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  California's Interstates and Highways
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Elected Officials and Political Boundary Maps of California


Information about Federal, State, and local representation can be found at these sources:

Congress.Org
http://www.congress.org
This website provides information about all elected officials in the United States, and has information about about issues and actions in government, information about government agencies, elections, and resources to practically every topic related to government. Register of congress members: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt

California Voter Foundation - California Map Series
http://www.calvoter.org/voter/maps/
This website has links to representation maps on many scales for California, from state levels down to Congressional, CA Senate, CA Assembly, and county maps.

California State Senate
http://www.sen.ca.gov/
This website has information about the California State Senate with CA Senate district maps of California.

California State Senate
http://www.sen.ca.gov/
This website has information about the California State Assembly with CA Assembly district maps of California.

Population Statistics of California

California has the largest population of any state in the nation. The table below compares the "top ten" most populous states in the country. Note that the population growth of California is about medium for the country, but the 6% growth rate with it's large population means that more people are moving to California than any other state (based on 2004 US Census projections). If the population growth rate continues at 6%, California's population should reach 50 million people shortly after 2025.

 
US. Census Bureau website (data for US regions including California: http://www.census.gov/
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