Sierra Institute’s first tour of 2013 is all about rocks

Feather Publishing

  Sierra Institute’s Center of Forestry offers an educational tour focused on the geology of the Northern Sierra Nevada on June 15. Dr. Derek Lerch, from Feather River College’s Environmental Studies Department, will lead this tour.

  Participants on this exploratory tour down Highway 70 will stop along the way to see and discuss various rock formations, historical values and more. Geologic evolution of the Northern Sierra Nevada/Cascades over the past 300 million years will be addressed.

    Participants will cover a wide range of topics from plate tectonics and basic rock types, to gold mineralization and gold recovery, along with river mechanics and water in California. They’ll see examples of meta-sedimentary and meta-volcanic rock, along with some colorful rock formations created over millions of years through various geological forces.

  Participants will learn the different between brittle and ductile deformations and see examples of both. They will visit the Melones Fault, where it is said most of the gold of California flowed, and also see one of the last stamp mills in the Northern Sierra while learning a bit about California’s gold mining legacy.

  Finally, on the way back up Highway 89, the tour will stop at Soda Rock, also known as Ch’ichy’yam-bam to the Maidu.

  Geology: From Soda Rock to Melones Fault begins at Sierra Institute in Taylorsville for morning refreshments and a short introduction to geology in California. The day will end at the Indian Valley Museum’s Gem & Mineral room. In one day, organizers promise participants will likely be amazed by how much they’ve learned, as well as how many unanswered questions still exist.

    June 15 also marks the day Taylorsville will be celebrating Pioneer Days and tour participants will have an opportunity to join in some of the fun at the end of the day.

  Morning refreshments, lunch and bus transportation are provided as part of the tour, which begins at 9 a.m. and concludes no later than 3 p.m. The cost is $50 per person. Visit the Center of Forestry’s website ( for more information, or call Lauri Rawlins-Betta at 284-1022 to reserve a place.

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