PALOS VERDES PENINSULA

Welcome to a wonderful geological treasure of Los Angeles. We hope these few pages will provide a virtual field trip for the world to enjoy! 

This guy was born on the peninsula in 1950, but only started to study geology in 1997. He's your guide! Good luck, you may need it! :) Below him is Bluff Cove a beautiful surfing spot when the waves come in. In the distance is the southern bend of Los Angeles' Santa Monica Bay. We're at the northwest corner of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. If we go around that Flat Rock Point we'll come to Haggerty's surfing spot and then Malaga Cove.

We find Malaga Cove Beach (Rat Beach to locals). The first picture shows the newly
remodeled Palos Verdes Beach and Pool Club. The spanish-style architecture matches the original club house of years ago. The beach itself has a gentle surf and a very mild slope into the ocean. On the walk down to the beach on the other side of the club house you'll see Malaga mudstone and Valmonte diatomite. Both Upper Miocene, the mudstone was formed above the diatomite in warm ocean waters up until about 5 million years ago (mya). It would be another 3 million years before Palos Verdes would rise up to become an offshore island.

The second picture shows the exposure of the white Valmonte diatomite. Diatomite is a sedimentary rock formed by the silica cell walls of dying diatoms settling to a calm ocean floor when this land was all underwater! Diatoms are microscopic sea organisms which would have thrived in waters warmer than today. This layer would have been first laid down in the Upper Miocene period some 10 million years ago (mya). At the base of this cliff or wavecut terrace are large boulders of diatomite which anyone can lift if they would only think to try!