The Geology of Bear Territory
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Last Stop:
South Hall
Next Stop:
Sunny Campanile
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Related Links:
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The Regents of the University of California

The Campanile, Foggy Day

Sather Tower ("the Campanile") is built mainly of California granite. Four floors are used to store fossils belonging to the UC Museum of Paleontology in VLSB. The Campanile elevator operator says that many of these fossils come from the La Brea Tar Pits near Los Angeles. The Campanile Tower also housed a large collection of paper seismograms recorded by what were then called the "Seismographic Stations". These records were relocated to a storage area under Edwards Track and Field Stadium in the early 1980s.

View from CampanileOn a foggy day, the view from the top of the Campanile is rather bleak; clear mornings are a rare treat. Dr. Mark Kubinec, special lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and a Bay Area wind expert, describes the scientific basis for Berkeley weather:

Temperatures near the coast are moderated by the ocean, which absorbs and releases heat slowly. At night, the water vapor just above the Bay cools and condenses, forming the fog we see in the mornings. As the day wears on, California's Central Valley, which doesn't benefit from proximity to the ocean, gets very hot. The heat excites the molecules that comprise the air and they move more quickly, spread apart, and rise. This "molecular migration" creates a center of low pressure in the Central Valley. The cooler, more densely-packed molecules of air by the Bay rush to fill in the spaces, reducing the east-west pressure gradient. This rush of molecules is felt as the strong sea breeze that blows from west (through the Golden Gate) to east (in the Central Valley) in the afternoons. As the wind blows, it also carries with it most of the Bay Area's air pollution and drops it off around Sacramento.