In this study we integrate the apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronometric technique with geomorphic, structural, and stratigraphic studies to pursue the origin and evolution of topographic relief related to extensive late Cenozoic faulting in the southern Sierra Nevada.The geomorphology of this region reflects a transition from a vast region to the north characterized by nonequilibrium fluvial modification of a relict low-relief landscape, little affected by internal deformation, to a more complex landscape affected by numerous faults.One of the longest ongoing controversies in Earth science concerns the age of California's Sierra Nevada, the tallest mountain range in the continental United States.Some argue that the mountains rose from sea level about 3 million years ago, while others suggest a much more ancient origin.The caves are open for visitation, however, and are being done temporarily as lantern tours.You can get updates concerning the caves by clicking here.
To no one's surprise, the well-traveled parts of the cave have been used and abused.
On the basis of 63 new apatite He ages and stratigraphic data from proximal parts of the San Joaquin basin we resolve two sets of normal faults oriented approximately N–S and approximately NW.
Quaternary west-side-up normal faulting along the N–S Breckenridge–Kern Canyon zone has resulted in a southwest step over from the Owens Valley system in the controlling structure on the regional west tilt of Sierran basement.
The other group suggests a much more ancient origin going back 60 million years or so." Now, in a study published in the July 7 edition of the journal Science, Chamberlain and Stanford colleagues Andreas Mulch and Stephan A.
Graham present strong evidence that the Sierra Nevada range has stood tall--7,200 feet (2,200 meters) or higher--for at least 40 million years.
The explorers emerged into a stunning chamber, now called the Jungle Room. Now, anyone can see what a pristine cave looks like.