Next week will be the 2016 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held in San Francisco since time immemorial — actually, since the hippie days of 1968 — and I’ve attended every year since the early 1980s. Back then it was held in Bill Graham Auditorium; next week some 24,000 people from all over the world will overfill the entire Moscone Center to swap geoscience presentations.
Oddly for a worldwide geoscience organization, the AGU doesn’t schedule any field trips in the days before and after the meeting. If you come, you’re on your own. So, cross the bay and visit beautiful, geologically interesting Oakland.
Geologists, it’s easy to show yourself a good time here. You know your way around a geologic map: put USGS MF-2342 on your tablet or my Oakland-only excerpt. If you’re a Zipcar subscriber, ride the BART to the 19th or 12th Street stations and take your pick of cars.
No car? No problem — BART and bus are what I usually rely on. For the AC Transit bus lines, the secret to an easy experience is to buy a day pass (5$ cash, half if you’re 65+) the first time you climb aboard. The free CityMapper app will keep you oriented and informed.
Let’s talk about a typical afternoon day trip, because that’s what I know best — set out during early lunchtime and finish by early dinnertime or beer time (BeerByBART lists the best craft beer places, organized by BART station). You can travel light and cover lots of ground. There are three main starting/ending points: downtown, Rockridge and Fruitvale.
Downtown: Infinite number of lunch places on weekdays, you can’t lose. Goodly number of dinner places, from Jack London Square up to Grand Avenue (served by a free shuttle on Broadway). Many brewpubs and beer gardens on Telegraph Avenue and Broadway.
Rockridge: Delis, grocers for takeout on College Avenue. Plenty of restaurants. Ben & Nick’s for beers.
Your destinations are in our beautiful hills, because that’s where the rocks and the views are.
From Rockridge you can:
- Visit the Franciscan block by going south on College Avenue to Broadway, then past the former Bilger traprock quarry and into Mountain View Cemetery with its classic “knockers” embedded in a melange matrix
- Circumambulate Claremont Canyon
- Take Chabot Street into the hills and through the woods to Tunnel Road and down into Berkeley
From downtown you can:
- Take the 18 bus to Montclair and see our bit of the Great Valley Sequence
- From Montclair you can walk north along the Hayward fault past Lake Temescal, then down to the Rockridge station
- Take the NL bus to Dimond Canyon and the redwoods of Joaquin Miller Park (or the 39 from Fruitvale)
From Fruitvale you can:
- Take the 39 bus to the serpentinite zone
- Take the 54 bus to the Leona rhyolite zone and central Oakland’s best overlook, north of Merritt College, and climb Sugarloaf Hill
If you have a car, you can:
- Visit eight localities on the Hayward fault
- Drive the spine of the hills, taking Grizzly Peak and Skyline Boulevards from Grizzly Peak to Grass Valley, crossing a good dozen of Oakland’s different mapped formations
- Visit the wild Franciscan melange of Knowland Park
- Visit Sibley Regional Volcanic Preserve and inspect the guts of a Miocene volcano turned on its side
- Walk around the southern part of the Hayward fault
And if you’re a maniac hiker, why not contemplate my hard-core one-way Oakland geology rambles:
- Ramble 1, Leimert Bridge through the serpentine belt to Redwood Road
- Ramble 2, Rockridge to Sibley to Orinda
- Ramble 3, Knowland Park to Dunsmuir Ridge
- Rockridge Station to/from Montclair
Come on over.