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Channel Islands National Park
Transcript of Channel Islands National Park
Geology: Rocks & Minerals
- The islands' isolation from the mainland makes for great air and almost no air pollution. In fact, no motorized vehicles are allowed on the islands, to protect air quality.
- However, the national park suffered a lot from DDT pesticides. For example, brown pelicans were common on the islands until they ate poisoned fish. Their eggs were then affected by the insecticide. The poison made the eggshells 50% thinner, and the eggs were almost always crushed under their parents' weight. The pesticide also made bald eagles and falcons extinct on the islands.
- Furthermore, an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969 wiped out many species of marine life near the park. Water pollution wiped out hundreds of animals near the islands. The national reaction was so huge that the very next year, Earth Day was born.
- The park has created a restoration program in the years since, to reduce any pollution and preserve native endangered species. The program restores ecosystems, like rare coastal wetlands, and preserves the natural and cultural resources found on the islands.
Ecology: Habitats and Populations
- The Channel Islands are home to over 2,000 species
of animals and plants. 145 of these are found NOWHERE else on Earth.
- The islands are diverse in habitats, ranging from marine reefs to rocky beaches to mountains, canyons, hills, lagoons, wetlands, and sea caves.
- The population includes many endangered species, like the island fox. The island fox lives on 6 of the 8 Channel Islands and is found nowhere else in the world. The population drastically decreased in the 1990s, but the cause was unknown. The cause is believed to be lack of food and predators, mainly the golden eagle. Today, the island fox population is rebounding, but there are still many protection efforts to be done. Hopefully, the island fox will one day be off the endangered species list.
- The islands are volcanic remnants of an ancient mountain range, the Santa Monica mountains. Collisions by the Pacific and North American plates destroyed the Santa Monica mountains, and the remnants floated up via tectonic forces to form Santarosae, which split to form the Channel Islands.
- The Channel Islands have many rock formations, like cliffs and caves. Geologists think that these spectacular formations were effects of underground volcanic activity.
- Most rock on the islands is sedimentary. This has helped researchers find the fossils of many rare and exotic creatures.
- The main minerals found on the islands are gypsum, lawsonite, and stilbite. Stilbite is said to have healing properties and many Americans use it for meditation.
***Major landforms on separate sheet***
Channel Islands National Park has a Mediterranean-type climate. This climate means that there are cool, wet winters and hot, humid summers. The islands are surrounded by water, making for a generally damp, mild, and foggy climate. The temperature ranges from the 50s to the 80s, and it doesn't usually change much over the course of a season or year.
***Weather observations on separate sheet***
Channel Islands National Park
By Ben Caplan
The 1969 oil spill
The island fox
A Little Bit About the Islands...
- Channel Islands National Park consists of the five northernmost Channel Islands: San Miguel Island, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara Island, and Anacapa Island.
- The Channel Islands are located off of the southern coast of California, near Ventura.
- The islands were named because of the deep trough, the Santa Barbara Channel, that separates them from the California mainland.
- The five northernmost Channel Islands, and the waters surrounding them, were officially declared a national park in 1980.
- All of the park's islands except for Santa Barbara Island were once joined in a single landmass known as Santarosae.
A coral reef off of
Santa Barbara Island
The DDT cycle
Why Should You Go?
You should go to Channel Islands National Park because it is one of the only national parks that is on an island- islands in this case. Also, you don't have to worry about booking a hotel. There are some great camping sites in the park. Admission to the park is free, and the park is within range of the California coast, but more isolated and less polluted. There is lots of great wildlife and natural formations, like Inspiration Point. If you like a resort-like climate, an outdoor setting, and amazing wildlife, this is the place to be!
But, in all seriousness...
- Although the park is within 60 miles of 18 million people, it is home to 175 miles of pristine undeveloped coastline.
- The world's most complete pygmy mammoth specimen was discovered on Santa Rosa Island in 1994. These miniature mammoths, only four to six feet tall, once roamed island grasslands and forests during the Pleistocene era.
- Park and sanctuary waters are home to the largest gathering of blue whales in the world. Approximately 10% of the global blue whale population gathers in the channel during the summer.
- The oldest dated human remains in North America were found on Santa Rosa Island in 1959, belonging to a 15,000-year-old woman who was part of the Chumash Indian tribe.
- Channel Islands National Park has more endangered species native to it than any other national park.
- The Anacapa Island lighthouse, turned on in 1932, was the last permanent lighthouse built on the West Coast.
- There are only a few mammals native to the Channel Islands- the island fox, deermice and harvest mice, the spotted skunk, bats, seals and sea lions, whales, and dolphins.
Caloplaca obamae, a new species of lichen discovered on Santa Rosa Island and named after President Barack Obama.