Northern California March 21, 2019
Visit This Northern California Park To See One Of The Country’s Rarest Geological Wonders
Hiding out in Sacramento County is a rare geologic wonder that few people seem to realize exists. Visit Mather Field and you’ll get to witness something called “vernal pools”. Vernal pools are the result of a natural phenomenon that occurs during winter and creates a temporary wetland. The pools fill up in the winter and dry out during spring or summer, so now is the perfect time to see them for yourself. Keep reading to find out exactly why these unique pools of water occur and how you can go about visiting them.
Mather Field is located just 20 minutes outside of downtown Sacramento and it's here you'll find one of our state's most amazing natural wonders: vernal pools. Vernal pools are known to go away in late spring/early summer, so you'll want to make seeing them soon a priority.
You may be wondering "What
is a vernal pool?" A vernal pool is a temporary wetland that fills up with water during winter, only to dry up during spring or summer. The pools then remain dry for six to eight months, until the next rainy season begins.
These specific vernal pools are considered an exceptional geologic wonder because they are an example of a rare wetland ecosystem that is unique to California. In fact, the vernal pools at Mather Field are the result of millions of years of geologic evolution.
It's estimated that these vernal pools are anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 years old, but the soil underneath them began forming more than two million years ago. The reason the pools form is because rainwater moves through the soil but is stopped by a cement-like layer called a "hardpan".
There are three phases of vernal pools: the wet phase, the flowering phase, and the dry phase. As a result, animals and plants have had to drastically adapt themselves in order to survive in such an extreme environment of flood and drought.
Many of the critters that call Mather Field home are native to California and can
only survive in vernal pools. Surprisingly, researchers know little about them and less than half have actually been named.
Vernal pools have occurred elsewhere in California but, sadly, more than 90% have been destroyed. Mather Field represents some of the last of them, and you can see them for yourself. Although, public access is mostly limited in order to preserve the pools for years to come.
You can have extended access to the pools by scheduling a guided tour with Sacramento Splash, an organization dedicated to preserving the region's wetland habitats. More information about tours and Sacramento Splash can be found by visiting their website
Did you know about this rare geologic wonder at Mather Field? Northern California is truly full of interesting surprises. Check out our list of the
15 Best Natural Attractions In Northern California for more must-visit sights.