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.
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.