and said, "Dam it.”
And they did.
AESTHETICALLY, I like a lake but I don’t much care for a reservoir. Lakes are pools of water that naturally fill an impression. The level of the water doesn’t change from season to season. Lakes provide habitat for fish and amphibians. Ringed with riparian plant life, they afford shelter to birds and small mammals and provide water for the greater beasts of the field. Eventually, a lake will silt in and form a meadow as nature’s form constantly evolves. Nothin’ like a good lake for a picnic, a paddle or a skinny-dip on a moonlit night.
Reservoirs, on the other hand, are messy creations of man that while providing water for irrigation and flood protection for cities and recreation and fishing, come with dams which disrupt nature and, when water released in the summer and fall is not replenished in the winter and spring display ugly “bathtub rings” evidencing man’s disdain for the order of things. Or so I thought.
RECENTLY, FROM THE RATTLESNAKE BAR boat launching ramp – well above the reservoir’s pool – I traipsed below the bathtub ring of a depleted Folsom Lake. On display was something a little more complex simple than simple devastation. More interesting, too.
|Or is it a rock on a moonscape?|
|A concrete example of...|
|You're so vein...|
In looking at Peterson's "Rocks and Minerals," the vein in the above photo may be "dolomitic marble" - common to Placer County - formed through heat and pressure applied to sediments of "fairly pure carbonates." Metamorphosed (my word, not theirs) sandstone - which, I believe becomes granite - is found on either side. Originally formed undersea, close examination of the larger veins originating in this manner may show fossils that are evidenced by traces of white in the pink marble, but in a sample this thin, probably none are to be found. On the other hand, it might just be a crack filled with compacted mud from after when these rocks were inundated by Folsom Lake.
A TRIP TO THE REGION below the waterline proves to be a nice look back at the past 100 million years or so – and a pleasant way to spend a mid-winter afternoon.
Plough, Frederick H., Rocks and Minerals (a Peterson Field Guide), Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988
Storer, Tracy I. and Robert L. Usinger, Sierra Nevada Natural History, University of California Press, 1963 et seq.
Van der Ven, William, Up the Lake with a Paddle (volume 1 – Sierra Foothills and Sacramento Region), Fine Edge Productions, 1998.
Church of the Open Road Press