The VERDUGO MOUNTAINS is a small, rugged mountain range of the
Transverse Ranges system, located just south of the western San
Gabriel Mountains in
Los Angeles County , Southern
California . The
range is sometimes known as the VERDUGO HILLS or simply the VERDUGOS.
Surrounded entirely by urban development, the Verdugo Mountains
represent an isolated wildlife island and are in large part under
public ownership in the form of undeveloped parkland. The mountains
are used primarily for recreation in the form of hiking and mountain
biking, and as the site of communications installations on the highest
The mountains appear to be low-lying to local residents; however,
there are a number of rugged sections, and the high portion of range
reaches nearly as high as the nearby
Santa Susana Mountains .
* 1 Geography
* 2 Geology
* 3 Flora, fauna and climate
* 4 History
* 4.1 Glendale at their southeastern end the
Verdugo Mountains are
separated from the
San Rafael Hills by the
Verdugo Wash .
The highest summit is the informally named Verdugo Peak (3,126 feet
), located near the center of the range and rising to approximately
2,200 feet (670 m) above its southern base. Other peaks include Tongva
Peak (2,656 feet ), recently named in honor of the Tongva (Gabrielino)
people, the original inhabitants of much of the
Los Angeles Basin
Los Angeles Basin ,
Santa Monica Mountains , and
San Gabriel Valley
San Gabriel Valley areas. Other
informally named peaks are Mount La Tuna on the north end and Mount
Thom on the south end of the range. With the exception of Mount La
Tuna, all these summits, as well as several others, are occupied by
Verdugo Mountains lie within the corporate boundaries of the
cities of Glendale , Burbank , and
Los Angeles . The neighborhood of
La Crescenta , most of which lies within Glendale, is adjacent to its
northern end, as are the
Los Angeles neighborhoods of Tujunga, Sunland
, Shadow Hills , and Sun Valley (the last of which includes La Tuna
Verdugo Mountains consist of an east-west-trending antiformal
fault block , bounded on south by the Verdugo Fault, a north-dipping
reverse fault , and on the north by the Sierra Madre thrust fault near
the front of the San Gabriel Mountains, thus including the
Crescenta Valley within the
Verdugo Mountains Block.
The Verdugo Fault lies slightly south of the topographic range front
and is completely covered by sediments.
The rocks within the
Verdugo Mountains block are almost entirely
igneous and metamorphic rocks similar to the crystalline basement
rocks exposed to the north in that portion of the San Gabriel
Mountains south of the San Gabriel Fault. These rocks consist of
gneiss , and gneissic diorite and quartz diorite , intruded by
irregular bodies of equigranular granitic rocks, predominantly quartz
diorite and granodiorite , with accompanying pegmatite and aplite .
Exposed rocks in the Shadow Hills neighborhood at the extreme
northwestern end of the Verdugos are typically marine sedimentary
Miocene age, predominantly sandstone and shale .
Verdugo Mountains are part of the western
Transverse Ranges ,
which have risen in the last 7 million years as the result of
contractional deformation resulting from transpressional motion and
rotation of crustal blocks in the "Big Bend" region of the San Andreas
Fault . The amount of crustal shortening since the beginning of the
Pliocene has been estimated to be on the order of 7 kilometers (4.3
mi). The Verdugo fault and Sierra Madre thrust are part of a complex
system of faults that accommodate some of this shortening and
generally become younger to the south, with the Verdugo Fault possibly
being the youngest member of this system and forming the current
boundary between this portion of the western
Transverse Ranges and the
Los Angeles basin. Uplift along the Verdugo fault may total
approximately 2.5 km (1.6 mi), at a minimum rate of 1.1 km (0.68 mi)
per million years since 2.3 million years ago, moving the crystalline
rocks of the
Verdugo Mountains up and over younger
Quaternary sediments to the south. The
Verdugo Mountains are,
therefore, young and rapidly rising, reflected in their steep
topography and rapid rates of erosion.
FLORA, FAUNA AND CLIMATE
California chaparral and woodlands
Verdugo Mountains lie almost entirely within the chaparral plant
community, as defined by Munz and later authors, including Sawyer et
al. This dense, shrub-dominated community of the
and woodlands is more highly developed on the north-facing slopes than
on the drier, hotter south-facing slopes. Among the shrub species that
characterize this community, prominent in the Verdugos are laurel
Malosma laurina ), toyon (
Heteromeles arbutifolia ), poison oak
Toxicodendron diversilobum ), chamise (
Adenostoma fasciculatum ) and
two species of California-lilac (
Ceanothus crassifolius and Ceanothus
oliganthus ). Native trees are restricted to protected canyons and
sites along the largely seasonal watercourses. Coast live oak (Quercus
California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica),
California sycamore (
Platanus racemosa ),
California walnut (Juglans
californica ), and several species of willow (
Salix spp.) are the most
common. Non-native trees, particularly pines (
Pinus spp.), cypress
Cupressus spp.), locust (
Robinia pseudoacacia ), and Australian
Eucalyptus spp.) have been planted locally along the fire
roads and, most notably, in the Fire Warden's Grove, established in
the wake of a wildfire in 1927.
Except for a tenuous link to the large wild area in the San Gabriel
Mountains through Big
Tujunga Wash at their northwestern end, the
Verdugo Mountains are an urban wildlife island completely surrounded
by development. Among the large mammals, coyote (
Canis latrans ) and
mule deer (
Odocoileus hemionus ) are the most common; mountain lions
Puma concolor ) and black bears (
Ursus americanus ) have occasionally
been reported. The many rodent species support a population of
western rattlesnakes (
Crotalus viridis ). Of the numerous bird species
present, the most characteristic of the chaparral here, and throughout
California, is the small, seldom seen but often heard wrentit (Chamaea
fasciata ). With its call of three or four chirps followed by an
accelerating trill, often likened to the sound of a dropped ping-pong
ball, the wrentit provides the most characteristic sound of the
Verdugo Mountains have warm, dry summers and cool wet winters.
Snow infrequently falls along the crest during the coldest winter
storms, but melts rapidly. Annual precipitation varies from about 18
inches at the base to about 25 inches at the crest. Most of the rain
falls between November and March during periodic frontal passages.
The mountains were part of the indigenous Tongva people's homelands
for over 7,000 years, with villages at some springs in the canyons.
Verdugo Mountains were named for Jose Maria Verdugo, holder of
Rancho San Rafael land grant , which covered the mountains during
California's Spanish and Mexican periods . On October 20, 1784 Pedro
Fages , the military governor of Alta
California , granted Jose Maria
Verdugo permission to use the rancho, known officially by the name San
Rafael but informally called "La Zanja" by Verdugo. The rancho's
boundaries were primarily defined by the Verdugo Mountains, the Arroyo
Seco and the
Los Angeles River , with the boundary following north
along the east bank of the river and wrapping westerly around Griffith
Park to a point near the
Travel Town Museum in the park.
GLENDALE & MOUNT VERDUGO RAILWAY
One of the earliest attempts to access and develop the interior of
Verdugo Mountains was the 1912 proposal by Colonel Lewis Ginger to
build a cable incline railroad to the summit of Mount Verdugo, now
known as Mount Thom. The proposed Glendale ">
* ^ "Verdugo Mountains".
Geographic Names Information System
Geographic Names Information System .
United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 2009-05-04.
* ^ A B Arkle, Jeanette, C, and Armstrong, Phillip A. (2007).
Quaternary exhumation of the Verdugo Mountains,
Los Angeles Basin,
constrained by low-temperature thermochronometry." Geological Society
of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 39, no. 6, p. 83.
* ^ Weber, F. Harold, Jr., and others (1980). Earthquake Hazards
Associated with the Verdugo-Eagle Rock and Benedict Canyon Fault
Los Angeles County California. Calif. Div. Mines and Geology
File Report 80-10
* ^ Luyendyk, B. P. (1991). "A model for Neogene crustal rotations,
transtension, and transpression in southern California". Geological
Society of America Bulletin, vol. 103, pp.1528-1536.
* ^ Schneider; C. L., Hummon, C.; Yeats, R. S.; and Huftile, G.J.
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* ^ Arkle, Jeanette C.; and Armstrong, Phillip A. (2009).
"Exhumation of the Verdugo Mountains, Southern California; constraints
from low-temperature thermochronology and geomorphic analysis."
Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 41, no. 67
* ^ Meigs, Andrew; Yule, Doug; Blythe, Ann; and Burbank, Doug
(2003). "Implications of disturbed crustal deformation for exhumation
in a portion of a transpressional plate boundary, Western Transverse
Ranges, Southern California."
Quaternary International, vol. 101-102,
* ^ Munz,Phillip A., in collaboration with David D. Keck (1968). A
California Flora and Supplement. Berkeley: University of California
* ^ Sawyer, J., and Keeler-Wolf, T. (1995). A Manual of California
California Native Plant Society.
* ^ Groves, Martha (May 29, 2015). "Meet the Verdugo Mountains\'
very own mountain lion: P-41".
Los Angeles Times .
* ^ Tchekmedyian, Alene (July 8, 2016). "Bear spotted at Burbank
Burbank Leader .
* ^ Quinn, Ronald D., and Keeley, Sterling C. (2006) Introduction
California Chaparral. Berkeley: University of
* ^ Gumprecht, Blake. The
Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and
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* ^ A B Kielbasa, John R. (1998). Historic Adobes of Los Angeles
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* ^ Duke, Donald (1998). Incline Railways of
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* ^ Barbour , Michael, Keeler-Wolf , Todd, and Schoenherr, Allan A.
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* ^ Quinn, Ronald D., and Keeley, Sterling G. (2006). Introduction
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* ^ Carle, David (2008). Introduction to Fire in California.
Berkeley: University of
* ^ "The 1927 Burbank Canyon Fire". Burank Fire Department website
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* ^ A B "The 1955 La Tuna Canyon Fire".
Los Angeles Fire Department
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* ^ A B Boucher, David, 1991. Ride the Devil Wind: a History of the
Los Angeles County Forester ">(PDF). Glendale Fire and Rescue News.
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* ^ "Southern
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* ^ "Rim of the Valley Corridor
Special Resource Study". National
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* ^ Kamal, Sameea (March 4, 2015). "Three lawmakers urge Park
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* ^ McKinney, John (1994). Walking
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* Tectonics of the San Gabriel Basin and surroundings, southern
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Corvallis, Oregon : Oregon State
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* Afoot ">
* Burbank, California, 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle map. United
States Geological Survey .
* Pasadena, California, 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle map.
United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey .
* Mount La Tuna - 34°13′24″N 118°20′15″W /
34.22327°N 118.33763°W / 34.22327; -118.33763
* Verdugo Peak - 34°12′55″N 118°16′48″W /
34.21518°N 118.28001°W / 34.21518; -118.28001
* Tongva Peak - 34°11′50″N 118°15′30″W / 34.19722°N
118.25833°W / 34.19722; -118.25833
* Mount Thom - 34°11′14″N 118°15′21″W / 34.18717°N
118.25596°W / 34.18717; -118.25596
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