New guide explores Berryessa region

“Exploring the Berryessa Region: A Geology, Nature and History Tour,” a new book by publisher Backcountry Press, guides visitors through a relatively unknown yet remarkable landscape.

The Berryessa region, part of the new 330,780-acre Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument established in 2015, displays a complex of geological wonders, biological abundance and a rich history of human cultures. The book has photographs, graphics, detailed map and an overview of the region’s complex geology.

The effort of a collection of authors from Davis — including Eldridge and Judy Moores, Marc Hoshovsky, Peter Schiffman and Bob Schneider — created this book. All of the authors have had a lifelong passion for educating others about geology and natural history.

They saw an opportunity in this book to encourage people to actively explore the region, to learn more about it, to increase their support for conservation of the region and to increase their support for the National Monument.

However, the book is a manifestation of the lifetime work of Eldridge Moores. Moores joined the UC Davis geology department (now earth and planetary sciences) in 1966 where he taught geology for 47 years.

His geological career spanned all continents. His studies, including plate tectonics, helped with the understanding of the geological history of the Earth. His work influenced many, including John McPhee.

McPhee and Eldridge Moores shared many field trips exploring Northern California geology while Eldridge discussed plate tectonics, ophiolites and pull-apart basins. In fact, Moores is the main subject in McPhee’s books, “Assembling California” and “Annals of the Former World.”

Eldridge and Judy Moores led public fund-raising field trips for more than 20 years to show people the geology of this region.

Co-author Marc Hoshovsky said, “I was driven by curiosity to learn more about this region and I wanted to expand Eldridge’s tour notes into a more complete illustrated story, including nature and history, that was more broadly accessible and inspirational to others.”

With geology as a foundational instrument shaping this complex landscape, Moores and the other co-authors interpreted its complexity and importance.

“The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was designated because of its plate tectonic geology, biological diversity, wildlife corridors, cultural history, and recreational opportunities. This is the first book to share the story with the public to experience and enjoy,” said co-author Bob Schneider who was instrumental in spearheading the monument’s designation.

In addition to geology, the book offers cultural and historical notes about the region through a mile-by-mile geologic tour of the southern part of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Stops along the tour offer windows into the distant and recent past — highlighting the geology that drives today’s biological processes.

The authors will be hosting a Zoom webinar discussing the book and ways to use it across the Berryessa region at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 30. Those interested may register by visiting

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was designated by President Obama on July 10. This is the community celebration on March 18, 2016. Secretary Sally Jewell and Congressman Mike Thompson are center front.
Bob Schneider/Courtesy photo

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