Monday, August 6, 2012

Post-Quake Parkfield Jaunt

Following last night's M4.5 earthquake near Parkfield, CA, (which I slept through) I felt compelled to drive out to that tiny burg (in no small measure due to feeling deprived). I wanted to avoid the heat of the day as it was predicted to reach triple digit temperatures there today (which it did) so I went this morning. I invited mom to join me as I know she loves the place and the drive out there is as satisfying an experience as visiting the destination. I took my usual route which is to drive out there via Highway 46 or Highway 41 (depending upon if I'm traveling from Paso Robles or Atascadero, respectively) and take Cholame Road north up the Cholame Valley to Parkfield. Upon return I typically take Vineyard Canyon Road back to San Miguel, CA, and on home from there. What follows are the images I captured during my post-quake reunion with the town of Parkfield and environs.

Sign at the cut-off to Parkfield.
This sign was placed here to clarify things.
Note the sign at right and the warped bridge at left.
 My little dog Tequila checking the safety of the bridge for me (not really) at the west approach.
East view on the south side of the bridge. Note warped railing and new supports under the bridge.
East view on the north side of the bridge. Note warped railing and new supports under the bridge.
East approach to the bridge looking west. Note sign at right.
West view of the north side of the bridge. Note warped railing and new supports under the bridge.
West view of the south side of the bridge. Note warped railing and new supports under the bridge.
The sign and it's condition and position symbolize and embody the spirit and condition of the town itself.
USGS educational materials available on the street adjacent to their office at the edge of town next to the CalFire station.
The most interesting bulletin on display.
A nice explanation of the bridge warping seen here previously.
The USGS office and equipment monitoring shed located on Cal Fire property on the west end of town.
Rock pile on the stairs leading to the USGS office. Geologists love rocks!
Cal Fire Parkfield Station (part of San Benito-Monterey Unit (BEU)) is a seasonal station closed in the off-season.
The buildings of Parkfield Fire Station.
Engine 4664 (a Type-3 engine) is stationed here during the fire season.
Thunderstorms last Saturday dropped just enough rain here to pelt the ground so dirt tracks are highlighted.
This level of traffic is typical of this town 99% of the time.
Rustic chic is, well, chic here.
The newly remodeled Parkfield Cafe.
The Varian Family owns this facility and the inn across the street. They milled much of their own lumber.
An iconic water tank.
Note the use of the local creek rock originating from the Franciscan Formation.
This sign is new to me as were a few other additions since I was last out here.
Interesting Patriquin Mine artifact, to wit, an ore cart filled with colorful local Franciscan Formation brecciated jaspers. Most folks don't realize coal and mercury used to be mined nearby. 
I have always loved this metal sculpture fountain on the grounds of the Parkfield Cafe.
The Parkfield Inn across the street.
Parkfield is the self-proclaimed "Earthquake Capital of the World". Shouldn't that be "capitol?"
I love the use of local rock for the walkways at the Parkfield Inn.
Another rustic metal sculpture, this one used as signage for the Parkfield Inn.
I have never figured out what these towers were used for on old ranches and farms.
Another cool field stone walkway at the Parkfield Inn.
A large Franciscan Formation  jasper boulder with an intrusion of greenish rock into the reddish in an almost metamorphic fashion.
The "Clampers" (members of E. Vitus Clampus) erected this monument which I love.
Part Two! Yes, I realize this is out of order.
Part One!
On the east side of town: if you blink you might miss it... the entire town I mean.
I would like to think this is earthquake damage.
Middle Mountain is in the background and it is roughly this part of it that is the epicenter to last night's earthquake whose actual hypocenter or focus (the depth at which it actually occurred) was 7.2 miles down from the surface.
All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).


  1. colorful and informative jaunt. the jasper boulder with its 'almost metamorphic fashion' green inclusion was a hilite for me.

  2. Very interesting and very beautiful... makes me want to come to CA. I have not been there since 1975. Allison

  3. Beautiful photos and interesting information!

  4. Very interesting and great shots Kim! Al Nichols

  5. The tower you are wondering about housed a water tank on the upper level, with a storage or other type of room underneath. A windmill would fell it and the height of the tank provided pressure.

  6. Went through Parkfield a couple years ago, I also have an interest in earthquakes. Appreciate the picture tour!

  7. Hope you had a burger at the cafe! They make a wonderful burger!