Bay Nature magazineOctober-December 2010

The Ocean

Book Review: Introduction to California’s Beaches and Coast

October 1, 2010

by Gary Griggs, UC Press, 2010, 328 pages, $19.95

Chances are you’ve sat on the beach and pondered where the sand goes when the waves carry it off, or maybe what the California coast looked like a million years ago, or why it’s so darned foggy. Find the answers to these questions and more in the latest addition to the California Natural History Guides series. This immensely readable book chronicles the formation of the California coast, from the underwater continental shelf through rocky crags to notorious fault lines. Surfer-geologist Gary Griggs also leads the reader on a tour of interdecadal climate oscillations, millennia-long heating and cooling trends, and what effect these fluctuations, exacerbated by climate change, may have on future coastal residents.

Griggs directly addresses the quandary faced by many who live on or near the California coast: How can we enjoy it while still preserving and maintaining it for future generations? Most importantly, Griggs puts the whole history and development of the coastline into context, calling for more conservation while encouraging people to discover and explore the natural beauty of his home turf. He even reveals the best places to surf — and explains how they were formed.

About the Author

Photographer and writer Melanie Jones lives in Oakland and enjoys coffee, books, urban gardening, and cool, foggy mornings.

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