Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pacific Grove's refuge-by-the-sea: enjoying Asilomar State Beach

Intertidal zone with rocks and fine sand, Asilomar Beach

Granodiorite rock fissure
The word Asilomar is derived from the Spanish words asilo, meaning retreat or refuge, and the word mar, meaning sea or ocean. Hence, Asimolar means refuge-by-the-sea [1]. For scientists around the world, Asimolar also means a conference-center-by-the-sea, located on the Monterey Peninsula, California, where top-notch meetings bring together outstanding researchers and think-tank tinkerers.

On the beach or during a sand-dune boardwalk hike, conference discussions often continue on for some time until the refreshing sea breeze may stimulate minds into a different direction or encourage a meditation session. The Asimolar State Beach is just a short boardwalk away from the Asimolar Conference Center. Other visitors—bicyclists and motorists—usually find a convenient point along Sunset Drive, from where they walk or climb down to the rocks and the sand-dune-framed beach.
Beach lovers

Like the fine, silvery sand of Carmel beach, “Asilomar's white, luxurious powder comes from offshore rocks, Santa Lucia granodiorite” [2]. Most of the coastal rocks you see at Asimolar Beach are based on Santa Lucia granodiorite, from which fine white sand wears down over time by erosion [3].  Past and current tectonic activities most likely cause the cracks and fissures, which beachcombers like to explore and which provide a natural habitat for intertidal wildlife. Low tides are the best time to carefully walk over or between the slippery rocks and wade through tide pools. And sunset is the time for romance—or for beginning your next-big discussion.

Sunset seen from Asilomar State Beach

References and more to explore
[1] Asilomar Conference Grounds: Asilomar is Born [].
[2] Carolyn Rice: Flesh & Earth. Muir Press [].
[3] Asilomar State Park Guide [].

No comments: