Archive for the ‘cemetery knockers’ Category

Mountain View Cemetery rocks: The back forty

7 December 2015

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Mountain View Cemetery is a never-failing source of interest. If you tire of graves, then why not collect the knockers exposed in this splendid preserve of Franciscan melange. I haven’t featured them here in several years, but recently the weather up there was especially photogenic. The one above, near the north edge west of the Cogswell monument, is my favorite, but they’re hard to choose among. Let’s say that knocker 1, my “secret chert,” is my favorite in the civilized part of the cemetery.

As you climb the hills, it’s natural to look around, away from where you are. Lately the cemetery managers have eliminated the overbearing fringe of eucalyptus along the rear, and the views north are enticing.

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If you look carefully, maybe you can spot Cactus Rock, a leading candidate for the mysterious Rockridge Rock. It’s at the bottom of this shot, in the middle.

Cactus-rock

But the view south hasn’t changed. This is the cemetery’s back forty, looking nearly unchanged after 150 years.

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Here’s a look at it head on, over the uppermost of the three ponds that occupy the headwaters of Glen Echo Creek. It’s not fenced off, so it’s open to exploration.

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Up the course of the creek is another small basin, above which the creek briefly emerges from a culvert. This is its current birthplace.

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The hillside gravel here — what geologists call the float — samples several different rock types that occur in the melange. Red chert, graywacke and some sort of serpentinized thingy is visible just in this small footprint. There’s also green chert, greenstone and basalt around.

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Here’s the graywacke — a dirty sandstone — close up.

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And this is my favorite knocker (one of several) in the UNcivilized part of the cemetery.

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It’s made of the high-grade green chert, whereas the first knocker I showed is the classic red ribbon chert. You could brave the traffic and see a huge expanse of it in the Marin Headlands, which is a nice field trip. Or you could stroll here and have it all to yourself, as long as I’m not hanging around.

Knocker 10

11 July 2012

Mountain View Cemetery has been clearing its upper reaches aggressively this year—so much so that a new knocker came into my ken the other week. This view is looking down at it from the brow of the maintenance area, sheltered by a clump of trees.

knocker 10

It appears to be the usual sandstone, although I didn’t inspect it closely. There is a good deal of poison oak around it, as there is near its neighbor, the “high knocker“:

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Knocker 10 overlooks the new Golden Lotus Mountain section.

If you haven’t been up to the top of the cemetery lately, the view east is phenomenal with the eucalyptus trees gone.

A real old-timer

15 April 2012

Mountain View Cemetery is a fun place for geology. Not only are there the untouched hillsides and the knockers of local bedrock, but the monuments themselves are displays of fine stone from around the world. On my last visit, though, this one caught my eye.

morton gneiss

It’s an example of the oldest stone in the United States, the Morton Gneiss from southwestern Minnesota. I mentioned it a few weeks ago in a KQED Quest Science Blogs post before finding this specimen. Touching it will put you in contact with something 3,524 million years old, more than three-fourths of the planet’s age.

Let me take this opportunity to plug Michael Colbruno’s blog about the people in the cemetery. He calls it “Lives of the Dead: Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland,” but I still think of it by its original (non-SEO-friendly) name “Mountain View People.”


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