Nojoqui Falls

Over the weekend, I finally got to visit Nojoqui Falls, located in a Santa Barbara County Park, off of Highway 101, just north of Gaviota. It’s one of those places I’ve driven past a hundred times and finally took the time to stop and look.The falls are not only pretty, but interesting geologically. They are are located at the contact point between two uplifted lithological units, the Jalama Shale and the Jalama Sandstone. The creek has eroded its way back through the soft shale, so that the cliff face is all sandstone. The Jalama Sandstone is highly cemented with calcium carbonate. Stream water dissolves the calcium carbonate upstream and then redeposits it on the face of the cliff as travertine. The travertine is actually building the cliff face outward, as you can see in this photo.The falls are pretty, even in this picture taken during low summer creek flow. I promise to go back in the winter after some rains and take a comparison picture.

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