Monterey County History


Prehistoric Monterey County

Twenty eight million years ago in the Miocene Epoch the Salinas valley was covered by a sea, rimed with islands now the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountains. Volcanoes dotted the Santa Lucia and Gabilan mountain ranges and created the inspiring Pinnacles Monument. Over sixteen million years clay and silt built up in the Miocene sea. The thick mud was layered with the countless bodies of marine animals. In recent times the mud silt turned hard rock called "Carmel Stone"was mined and used commonly for building homes in the Monterey County area.

The Pleistocene Epoch paralleled the great Ice Age but glaciers did not exist in the coastal ranges. The great Ice Age in the coastal areas marked a time when there was a great amount of rain fall and the coastal mountain ranges were uplifted and changed dramatically. Giant bison, Saber tooth tigers and mammoths roamed what is now Monterey County during the Pleistocene Epoch. The Monterey Cypress tree is a relic of the Pleistocene Epoch the still exists today. The California Condor proved it could survive the Ice Age only to become nearly extinct in modern times.

Todays California Condor is a relic of prehistoric times
A home built entirely of Carmel Stone




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