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By Michael J Moratto; David A Fredrickson

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This ancient landmass-a potpourri of 7 " ! 111• " " 0 0 ... • G) "P' CJ) � .. ,, MI H H 0 0 Ktn 4 A 1" -: .. IQO .. ,, <"> .. .. • 0 C' .. .... � 12S 122 121 � + � � Ii ,, . 2 Geomorphic provinces of California. Each province is characterized by partic· ular geologic structures and lithologic units and their entailed landforms. After Bailey 1966; Ernst 1979; Jenkins 1 94 1 . ) PHYSIOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY granitic, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks-is an outlier of the north­ ern Sierra Nevada, but the granitic bedrock linking the two ranges is covered by younger alluvium of the upper Sacramento Valley and vol­ canic extrusives of the Modoc Plateau and Cascade Range (Oakeshott 1971).

The yearly discharge of Sierran rivers is more than 3. 7 billion m3 ( =30 million acre-feet)-nearly half of California's total runoff. Snowfall is an important part of Sierran climate. Winter occupation by prehistoric Indians was largely restricted to elevations below the snowline ( = 1000-1500 m) (see Chapter 7). 10). 5). Great Central Valley A dominant feature of central California's landscape is its interior lowland. 2). Enclosed by the Siskiyou, Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi, and Coast Ranges on the north, east, south, and west, respectively, this huge basin is underlain by sediments (derived mainly from Sierran streams) to a maximum depth of nearly 17 km.

The archaeological record is closely linked to shifting water sources in this ever-changing desert province (Figure 1 . 8). Colorado Desert (Salton Trough) The Colorado Desert, or Salton Trough, is a depressed block, 135 km long and 50 km wide, between forks of the San Andreas Fault. 8 View across part of the ancient Manix Lake playa to the eroded foothills of the Calico Mountains, Mojave Desert; note the alluvial fans near the base of the hills. ) 17 18 1. A Goodly Ilande: California's Natural Setting in this forbidding land fall to 75 m below sea level.

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