Geological Resources

Welcome to the wonderful world of geology in Los Padres National Forest

Geology determines the landscape around you, from the ground that you stand on to the mountains or ocean in the distance. The Los Padres has many amazingly beautiful locations and vistas that exhibit spectacular geology. Massive beach cliffs are being eroded by waves along the Big Sur Coastline, while tectonic forces continue to build the mountains of the Transverse and Coast Ranges. Dry climate in the rain shadow of the mountains has allowed the formation of desolate, desert-like badlands, including those in the forest's geologic special interest area at Quatal Canyon. Check out the new self guided geology walk in Upper Oso Canyon. The Jacinto Reyes National Forest Scenic Byway along Highway 33, between Ojai and Ozena, makes a great geology road tour of uplifted and folded sedimentary strata, and dramatic erosion and landsliding. Geology is everywhere! What do you know about the geology of your favorite spot on the LP?

The Forest is comprised of a wide variety of unique rock types and landforms. Mountain building here is among the most active in North America. Although there is currently no active volcanism in southern California, hot-springs are scattered across the forest, and geologic hazards such as landslides and earthquakes are common. Both vertebrate and non-vertebrate fossils, millions of years old, can be found throughout the forest. Mining of gold and other precious minerals has been a significant part of the forest's history and some mining has continued to the present. Oil and gas are also being pumped from rocks deep below the surface. Geology plays a significant role in the management of our National Forests, as it relates to all natural resources including water and wildlife.