150,000,000-65,000,000 years ago the plate (crust) under the Pacific
Ocean was being forced (subducted) under the North American Plate.
As the plate, made up of a lava rock called basalt, was forced under it
began to melt. At the same time boiling water seeped into the “trench”
and turned to salty steam. This transformed (metamorphosed) the
basalt into a green and black, waxy-looking rock that looked like snake
skin. It is called “serpentine.” Over millions of years this rock
decomposed in to soil rich in magnesium and iron, but poor in calcium
sodium and potassium. The uniquely adapted plants seen in this booklet
thrive in this rare soil-type. Serpentine in one of the rarest habitats in
California. Enjoy the beauty of these flowers each Spring.
GO OUTSIDE & PLAY!