220 pages
21 halftones, 7 maps, 12 line illustrations
6 x 9
Pub date 2002


Ship outside US
Six Hikes on the Southern Gulf Coast
by Markes E. Johnson [bio]

Baja California: wild, desolate, and a treasure-house of geological wonders. Along its ancient shorelines, careful observers can learn much about how the Gulf of California came into existence and what the future of the Baja California peninsula might be.

For those who wish to unlock the mysteries of Baja California, geologist Markes Johnson offers the key. He has taken a body of technical research on the geology and paleontology of the region and made it accessible in plain language for anyone who visits the peninsula, whether for study or recreation. His book teaches general concepts in coastal geomorphology and tectonics, as well as the basic geological and natural history of the Gulf of California, in a conversive, intellectually stimulating fashion.

Johnson's guide takes the form of six day-long hikes in the area of Punta Chivato on the east coast of the southern Baja California peninsula. Punta Chivato is presented as a microcosm of the entire region; it can enable visitors to better understand major themes in the natural history of the Gulf of California and its geological past. All of the hikes begin at the southeast corner of the Punta Chivato promontory and loop out in different directions. Each circuit is designed to minimize overlap with adjacent hikes and to maximize the visitor's exposure to instructive variations in the landscape. Each chapter features additional reflections on a geologist of another time and place who has advanced the field in a way that elucidates the material covered in that chapter. Through these asides, readers will learn the basic lessons about how geologists read the secrets hidden in landscapes.

Discovering the Geology of Baja California invites visitors to these shores to explore not only rocks and fossils but also the continuum of past ecosystems with the ecology of the present. It offers both an unparalleled guide to a remote area and a new understanding of life caught in an endless cycle of change.

"A fascinating, detailed and absorbing view of Baja's coastline geology . . . This book is like a nice walk with a good friend who has a talent for telling great stories. . . . Anyone with just the slightest appreciation for the natural world will want to lace up their hiking boots, pick up their camera and rock hammer and take off after the 'pied piper of Punta Chivato' in search of Baja's past." —The Mexico File

"It’s extremely well written and on a par with the best trade books in geology. . . . I’m not exaggerating when I say that I enjoyed this book as much as reading John McPhee. . . . The Baja aficionado will love it!" —Julio L. Betancourt,GS

"An interesting blend of nature guide, introduction to geology/paleoecology, and philosophical observations in science, nature, and the environment . . . a well-written and creative narrative." —Victor D. Baker, University of Arizona