Posted by lakessler1SWV
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 08:54
Viewed 916 times
I know where Morro Rock is, but have only recently learned what it is.
For several years, my husband, Doug, and I have vacationed at Morro Bay. It is our favorite weekend getaway, and we especially enjoy staying at a quaint little inn on the Embarcadero just so that we can stare at our precious rock as the sun sets behind it.
We’ve also spent many an afternoon lounging around in the shadow of its massive form. Doug will shoot pictures of surfers with his digital camera while I stretch out in the back of our SUV with the hatch-back propped up and sip coffee to the sound of the waves crashing around us.
One day it dawned on me that maybe I ought to know a little something about a rock I enjoyed spending so much time with. After all, how could I love something so much when I knew nothing about it? So I did some detective work and dug up the dirt on this famous coastal landmark.
Morro Rock is one of several ancient volcanoes strung together to form the “Nine Sisters.” It was created over 20 million years ago and was originally a “plug” of rock that cooled inside the neck of a volcano (hence, it is referred to by geologists as “intrusive igneous rock”). If you gaze at this bowl-shaped mound long enough, it isn’t hard to imagine it as a “cork” preventing any further magma from rising to the surface. We see Morro Rock as it is today because of erosion –– the outside of the volcano has worn away to reveal its present incarnation.
The word “morro” means "pebble" or "snout" in Spanish. Named “El Morro” in 1542 by Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, it was the most visible of the Nine Sisters and was used as a navigational tool.
From 1889 to 1963, it was quarried –– rock taken from the top-most layer was used as a spit to create a bay. Eventually, residents became alarmed as they witnessed their beloved landmark being chipped away into a pile of inconsequential rubble. Hence, it was soon established as a historic landmark. These days, it is a reserve for the Peregrine falcon.
I am now in tune with this sacred chunk of solidified volcanic magma. From the deck of our favorite restaurant, The Hofbrau, Doug and I have taken numerous pictures of this cherished heap of California geology. We have lunched on the finest fish n’ chips there while watching the sun set in all its romantic splendor.
A love affair shouldn’t depend on the history of its dear one, but in this case, it does. History matters, especially on a planet that seems to be continually shrinking and losing much of its natural wonder. On this kind of world, it does matter, especially if you want to save it for those near and dear to you.