The continents are the visible parts of Earth's crustal plates that, like great floating puzzle pieces, get pushed around, torn, wrinkled, and recombined. In the composite satellite image of North America and the eastern Pacific Ocean, the northwestward drift of the Pacific Plate is tearing the Baja California peninsula from the Mexican mainland.
A Look at Geology: The Stone Raft
Like a stone raft, greater Baja California slowly drifts between a cool Pacific Ocean and a warm Sea of Cortés. This body of rock, comprising Baja California and Southern California, is riding on the Pacific Plate on its northwesterly journey. Soaring mountains, plunging canyons, volcanic flats, a legion of islands, the glorious gulfall are testimony to the creative force of plate tectonics. On this isolated peninsula, almost an island, the landscapes are then reshaped by erosion and subsequent plate movement. Species adapt, giving rise to new species over thousands and millions of years.
Tajo Canyon and eastern escarpment of the Sierra de Juárez
Isla San Luis
Life Forms |
The Photographers | Exhibit Options
Desert and Sea | Site Index | Ocean Oasis
San Diego Natural History Museum & PRONATURA
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