Last week I took a nine-mile ramble up Claremont Canyon, then along the East Bay Skyline Trail as far as Lomas Cantadas, then down to Orinda and the BART station. The trail goes across the head of Siesta Valley, an interesting geologic feature and a wonderful view (click full size). Route 24 cuts across the valley right in front of the construction, which will be Orinda’s newest neighborhood some day.
This valley is not a streamcut valley, but rather is formed by the folding of the rocks beneath it in a syncline. That’s a shape with a trough in the middle and upturned sides. (The opposite is an anticline, a ridge with downturned sides.) The notch that route 24 goes through is cut by a stream. My guess is that it’s a water gap, cut by the stream at the same time as the rocks were being folded. The rocks of the Siesta Valley are sandstones and mudstones belonging to the Siesta Formation, the next youngest set of rocks after the basalt flows of the Moraga Formation. Speaking of which, I also took this shot of Round Top from the north, with the old basalt quarry grounds in front of it.