The first draft of this chapter was written in 1977. I had intended it to be an introduction to my doctoral dissertation on the tectonic evolution of the southern Gulf of California, but I had the good sense not to include it there because my academic minor was in the history of science and I didn’t want to defend the historical rigor of what follows here. When the opportunity arose to include it in this memoir I thought, why not? This will probably be as good a place as any to hide it from the eyes of serious historians. So I rewrote it and added to it, but it is still more sea story than history. I will briefly sketch about 600 years of history, including about 200 years of the history of Spanish exploration off northwest Maxico and there are entire libraries that specialize in that subject. I visited one such library at Berkeley and found it to be frequented by scholars. They seemed to be quiet, rather serious people carrying around huge boxes full of 3x5 reference cards. But, my interest in Spanish exploration only began in 1975, just 2 years before I wrote the first draft of this chapter, and I don’t feel competent to analyze or criticize conflicting historical details found in the various sources. So, since this story isn’t likely to be of much use to historians, the obvious question becomes: What do 16th and 17th century Spaniards have to do with plate tectonics or
Figures & Tables
The Gulf of California is an excellent laboratory for studying sedimentary processes on time scales that are not resolvable in the open ocean. The high biological productivity and the unique physical character of the gulf combine to produce sedimentological processes that preserve annual phenomena. This volume is organized into six sections. Part 1 covers historical exploration of the area. Part 2 includes 5 chapters detailing information contained on the 5 fold-out maps that accompany the volume. Part 3 consists of chapters on regional geophysics and geology. Part 4 covers satellite geodesy. Part 5's seven chapters discuss physical oceanograpy, primary productivity, and sedimentology. Part 6 covers hydrothermal processes.