Point Arena Lighthouse and the Cascadia Subduction

On the north coast, south of Mendocino and north of Gualala, is the town of Point Arena with its historic lighthouse. The spiral staircase to the top is narrow and spectacular, so much so, it is a photographic cliche. My job was to find some original angles.

From the outside, some have said this is a giant phallus. What nonsense:

From the inside:Β 




Cascadia Subduction

From the top of the lighthouse, the view goes on forever. Most disturbing to me, though, was the view directly below where the land meets the ocean. The layering of rocks goes almost 90 degrees straight up. What does this mean? It means, look out!

Forty-five years ago, geologists did not even know that along this coast is where tectonic plates collide (the Cascadia Subduction). Nor did they know these events create earthquakes in the 9.2+ range with accompanying 100-foot tsunamis. As George Carlin would say, “Hoooly shit!”

These vertical layers indicate where the earth’s plates have crashed into each other. This happens roughly every 400 to 500 years. Geologists estimate a 10% chance of this happening in the next 30 years. It will devastate the west coast from Vancouver to Sacramento. Everything west of Interstate 5 “will be toast.” Hundreds of thousands will die and millions will be homeless.

For more information on this, read The New Yorker, July 20, 2015.

Notice how my blogs always have upbeat messages? Have a nice day.









6 thoughts on “Point Arena Lighthouse and the Cascadia Subduction

  1. Bishop says:

    Good post. Love the pix. Shows your great eye for graphic composition. Nicely done!
    Cascading subduction mention important.

  2. Susan says:

    Being reminded of that Pt. Arena Lighthouse brings back fond memories. You know Mayer lived in Pt. Arena for seven years and built his first home there from the ground up with his own two hands. Now our son Gabe will inherit the house. Our friends still live on the “The Land” that he helped to create. I love your photos — and your warning about the coming disasters. I won’t say anything about the fact that we moved away from earthquake country . . .

    — Susan

  3. Hal says:

    Yep, Nice photos Rick. The only thing I can recall about the Pt. Arena Lighthouse was it as a weather reference point in my sailing days. BTW, regarding the Cascadia Subduction – you do have a rep to uphold as the Dark Lord in our group. πŸ™‚

  4. Pat Green says:

    No more phallic than “Sather’s last erection,” as the Campanile at Cal is often known. The stairs made my knees hurt, but reminds me of our Cabrillo Light House here in San Diego. Great pictures.

  5. Bill says:

    Great photos.

    But what’s so bad about a giant phallus? I realize you wrote it is “nonsense,” so I suppose there’s some truth in that now for some of us. πŸ™‚

    As to earthquake danger, that New Yorker article is excellent. But I believe the risk is much gtreater than you describe. I believe the article focused on the coast further north, from southern Washington to northern Oregon. One major point of the article is that the the fault up there is likely to blow in the near future, much sooner than 30 years from now. If I recall correctly, the fault is supposed to blow about once every 250 years but hasn’t done so for 340..

    • Rick says:

      I fear my sardonic comment “what nonsense” was misunderstood. Of course it is a giant phallus – a 130-foot concrete penis.
      That is so delightful. My photo accentuates all that.

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