Rubicon and the Sierra Nevada Batholith

If an orogeny lasts a long time over a great extent of space, plutons overlap and produce batholiths like the Sierra Nevada. This batholith is seen from space as the large white area in this GoogleEarth image.

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The extent of the batholith is seen in in a geologic map of California.

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The small rectangle is the approximate location of the famous Rubicon Run from Morristown to L. Tahoe, California. I made this run with some fellow offroaders in 1983. The granites are shown in red, which is a lot bigger than the Harney Granite pluton. It isn’t much higher, however, with peaks at ~8700 feet. These intrusive rocks are also much younger, being intruded over millions of years during the Mesozoic period (~88-210 million).

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The climb into the Sierra Nevada batholith is thru scenic forests that become primordial on the trail, with streams and many boulders. The trail is difficult to find without a guide over the solid granite mountain.

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More “gates” that keep large vehicles out finally lead to a glacial valley at the top, where a couple of days are spent camping.

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After a rest and any needed repairs, we head downhill to the south shore of L. Tahoe and a great meal before heading back to the Basin and Range.

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