Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Santa Monica Mountains
The Santa Monica Mountains are a low transverse range in southern California in the United States. They run for approximately 40 mi (64 km) E-W from Point Mugu in Ventura County into Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. The mountains form a barrier between the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin, separting "the Valley" on the north and west-central Los Angeles on the south.
Geologists consider the northern Channel Islands to be a continuation of the Santa Monicas into the Pacific Ocean. The range was created by repeated episodes of uplifting and submergence that created complex layers of sedimentary rock. Volcanic instrusions have been exposed, including the poorly named Sandstone Peak, the highest in the range at 3,111'. Malibu Creek , which eroded its own channel while the mountains slowly tilted up, bisects the range.
The Santa Monica Mountains are in the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion, and is covered by hundreds of local plant species, some of which are very rare, and others of which have become popular ornamentals. It is host to an immense variety of wildlife, from mountain lions to the endangered steelhead.
The mountains have more than 1,000 sites of archeological significance, particularly in regard to the Tongva and Chumash people. Today the Santa Monica Mountains face pressure from local populations, who see the range as a receational retreat, a desirable residential area, and as an increasingly rare wild place in urban Los Angeles.
In local speak, "going over the hill" refers to crossing the range. Cahuenga Pass, present-day site of the Hollywood (101) freeway, is the easiest pass in the range connecting the Los Angeles Basin to the San Fernando Valley. In the 1800s two battles were fought there, and the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed nearby. In the heyday of Hollywood movie studios clustered on both sides of it. Sepulveda Pass is the main north-south pass to the west, connecting West Los Angeles to Sherman Oaks via the San Diego (405) freeway. Further west are Topanga Canyon Boulevard , Malibu Canyon Road , and Kanan Dume Road . Mulholland Drive runs most of the length of the Santa Monica Mountains, from Cahuenga Pass to Sequit Point . The term Malibu Ozarks is sometimes used derogatorily (or ironically) of land located within Malibu but beyond the leading mountain range and lacking an ocean view; the term is often used synonymously with "818 Malibu" (referring to an undesirable telephone area code prefix).
Much of the mountains are located within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area . Preservation of lands within the region are managed in part by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Over twenty individual state and municipal parks are in the Santa Monica Mountains, including: Topanga State Park , Leo Carillo State Park , Malibu Creek State Park, Point Mugu State Park , Will Rogers State Historic Park, Point Dume State Beach , Griffith Park, Charmlee Wilderness Park , Runyon Canyon Park , and the Paramount Ranch .
- Sandstone Peak, 3111' (Also called Mount Allen.)
- Tri-Peaks, 3010'
- Exchange Peak, 2950'
- Boney Peak, 2825'
- Castro Peak, 2824' (Highest peak in the eastern end of the range.)
- Saddle Peak, 2805'
- Calabasas Peak, 2165'
- Temescal Peak, 2126'
- San Vicente Mountain, 1965' (Former site of a Nike missile base, now a Cold War park.)
- Clarks Peak, 1965'
- Cahuenga Peak, 1820'
- Mesa Peak, 1844'
- Brents Mountain, 1713'
- Mount Lee, 1640' (The Hollywood Sign is on the southern slope.)
- Mount Hollywood, 1625'
- Mount Chapel, 1622'
- Mount Bell, 1587'
- La Jolla Peak, 1567'
- Laguna Peak, 1457'
- Mugu Peak, 1266' (The westernmost peak in the range, it rises directly from the beach.)
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