The rocks of the wall near Davis Hall, home of
of Civil and Environmental
Engineering, are vesicular basalts.
Note the porosity due to escaping volcanic gases at the time the
basalt was extruded. These rocks are similar to basalts found
elsewhere in the Berkeley Hills. The volcanism resulted from the subduction of the Farallon Plate under the North American
Plate. You can see evidence of the volcanism at the
Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, part of the
East Bay Regional Park
District. Remnants of the Farallon
plate (called the Gorda, Juan de Fuca, and Explorer plates) are still actively subducting from northern
California to British Columbia today.
Davis Hall itself is home to several laboratories for earthquake
engineering research, including the Structures and
Materials Laboratories and the Geotechnical Engineering
Laboratory. Other earthquake engineering research facilities
are located at the Richmond Field Station, including the
Earthquake Simulator Laboratory.