Long Beach, CA
Morro Rock is a 581-foot (177 m) volcanic plug located just offshore from Morro Bay, California, at the entrance to Morro Bay Harbor. A causeway connects it with the shore, effectively making it a tied island. The area surrounding the base of Morro Rock can be visited. The rock is protected as the Morro Rock State Preserve. Climbing on the rock or disturbing the bird life is forbidden by law.
The rock was quarried on and off from 1889 to 1969, and provided material for the breakwater of Morro Bay and Port San Luis Harbor. In 1966, a new state law was adopted that transferred title to the State of California. In February 1968, the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society and the City of Morro Bay succeeded in having Morro Rock declared California Registered Historical Landmark number 821.
Morro Rock was first charted in 1542 by Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who called it El Morro, the Spanish geographical term for a crown-shaped rock or hill ("the pebble"). Since then, it has become an important landmark to sailors and travelers.
The Salinan and Chumash tribes considered Morro Rock to be a sacred site. The Chumash had an important nearby prehistoric settlement at least as early as the Millingstone Horizon (6500-2000 B.C.E.), and the village was near the mouth of Morro Creek. The right of the Chumash people to climb Morro Rock for their annual solstice ceremony is now well established, but it is illegal for the general public to climb it.
Despite protests by the Chumash, Salinan tribe members also have exemption to legally climb Morro Rock for an annual ceremony celebrating the time in legend when hawk and raven destroyed the two-headed serpent-monster Taliyekatapelta, as he wrapped his body around the base of the rock.
The Rock, as locals call it, was previously surrounded by water. However, the northern channel's harbor was made from its sediment.
Morro Rock is the best known of the Nine Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, a series of ancient volcanic plugs that line the Los Osos Valley between the cities of Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.
June 23rd, 2012
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