Santa Barbara Island

Santa Barbara Island

Santa Barbara Island is a small island located about convert|50|mi|km off the southern California coast near Los Angeles.

With a total area of about 640 acres (2.6 km²) it is the smallest of the eight Channel Islands of California. It is the southern-most island in the Channel Islands National Park. The highest peak on the island is Signal Hill, at 634 feet (193 m).

This island is defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block 3012, Block Group 3, Census Tract 29.10 of Santa Barbara County, California. According to the 2000 census the islands are uninhabited and have a total land area of 2.625 km² (1.0136 sq mi). [ [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-show_geoid=Y&-tree_id=4001&-_caller=geoselect&-context=dt&-errMsg=&-all_geo_types=N&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_P001&-redoLog=true&-transpose=N&-search_map_config=|b=50|l=en|t=4001|zf=0.0|ms=sel_00dec|dw=0.12136367503897609|dh=0.07581531832683142|dt=gov.census.aff.domain.map.EnglishMapExtent|if=gif|cx=-119.39570882338684|cy=34.005713566102685|zl=4|pz=4|bo=318:317:316:314:313:323:319|bl=362:393:358:357:356:355:354|ft=350:349:335:389:388:332:331|fl=381:403:204:380:369:379:368|g=01000US&-PANEL_ID=p_dt_geo_map&-_lang=en&-geo_id=100$10000US060830029103012&-CONTEXT=dt&-format=&-search_results=01000US&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U Block 3012, Block Group 3, Census Tract 29.10, Santa Barbara County] United States Census Bureau]

Like most of the Channel Islands, it can be seen from the mainland on exceptionally clear days (usually in winter).

Geology

While the island is not a volcano it is composed primarily of Miocene volcanic rocks (basalt) interbedded with marine sediments. [Pleistocene Paleoecology and Biostratigraphy, Santa Barbara Island, California, Jere H. Lipps, James W. Valentine, Edward Mitchell,Journal of Paleontology, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Mar., 1968), pp. 291-307] The steep wave-cut cliffs of its shoreline indicate that this is one of the younger Channel Islands. It exhibits at least six marine terraces; evidence of repeated tectonic uplift and subsidence (so called porpoising). Arch Point, on the north-east shore of the island is a convert|130|ft|m|abbr=on arch caused by wave erosion of fault weakened rock. [Natural History of the Islands of California,Allan A. Schoenherr, C. Robert Feldmeth, Michael JEmerson, 1999, University of California Press] Offshore, there are two named rocks, Shag Rock off the northerly shore (1 acre), and Sutil Island off the southwest end (12 acres).

History

The first European visitor to the Channel Islands in 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer, made no mention of this island.

Sixty years later, the island was named by Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino, who visited the island on December 4, 1602, the feast day dedicated to Santa Barbara.

In December 1934, the factory ship "California" spent a week anchored off Santa Barbara Island, processing whales caught by her two steam-driven whale catchers. [Keyes (1939), pp. 232-235]

Wildlife

Santa Barbara Island is home to a large sea lion rookery and seabird nesting colonies. It is also home to the largest breeding colony for Xantus's Murrelet, a threatened seabird species. Xantus's murrelet is listed as vulnurable, because so much of their breeding takes place on such a small and isolated island.

Santa Barbara Island live-forever ("Dudleya traskiae") is a succulent plant endemic to the island.

References


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