Seastacks, Sonoma Coast, California

Well, I had hoped to be posting WoGE #159 in this space today, but once again the Schott Rule bit me and Péter Luffi beat me to the punch. ;-)

Instead I’m going to embark upon a geoblogging field excursion centered around a series of GigaPans I recently shot. In doing this I want to recognize that I draw some inspiration from Garry Hayes’ wonderful series of posts about the Cretaceous Parks of the Colorado Plateau. While my trip lacks in the thematic geological cohesion of that series, I hope that it will make up for it in the breadth of geological features I was able to see. I’ll continue to dribble this out in posts over the next few weeks.

In fact, Brian’s Friday Field Foto #76 prompted me to begin this blogging trip a bit prematurely. As such, I won’t stick to a strictly chronological retelling of my journey, though I’ll endeavor to keep the general sequence of regional stops in order.

The journey begins in the aftermath of the AGU Meeting in San Francisco last December. I had planned to spend a week or two at my old Ph.D. thesis area around Gualala, California shooting GigaPans and renewing my acquaintance with old friends (well, outcrops, anyhow). As luck would have it, though, a series of Pacific storms were lined up and headed for the coast at the same time I was. To avoid the nasty weather my journey took an unexpected detour through the Gadsden Purchase (so Lee Allison‘s got some Arizona GigaPans to look forward to in another week or two). But first, California…

I did manage to get in about two days of GigaPanning north of the Golden Gate before the storms arrived, and the one GigaPan image that I may be most proud of out of the entire trip was the anaglyph I shot of seastacks along the Pacific Coast Highway between Bodega Bay and Jenner. (For the best 3D effect you’ll want to view this with red/blue glasses.)

Seastacks, Sonoma Coast, California – 3D Anaglyph (View with red/blue glasses)
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To capture this image I used a pair of GigaPan beta units with Canon S5 IS cameras shooting simultaneously less than a foot apart.

After stitching was complete, it took almost two working days to merge these images into an anaglyph image, but if you’ve got a pair of red/blue glasses handy to view it, I think you’ll agree that it was worth the effort. To my knowledge it’s the world’s first full gigapixel anaglyph image (1.05 gigapixels, to be exact).

The rocks here are metamorphosed sediments and mafic igneous rocks (possibly including some blueschists) of the Franciscan Formation. The San Andreas fault runs parallel to the coast and is not that far out to sea in this spot – maybe only a kilometer or so offshore. In addition to the seastacks weathering out of the shoreline one can also recognize an elevated coastal terrace. Mainly though, it’s just a beautiful view of the edge of a continent.