Unified Interior Regions

California

The Southwest Region includes California, Nevada, and Arizona. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions.

States L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 421
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Southwestern Desert Ecology of At-risk Species and their Habitats

The southwestern desert region is home to many sensitive species. Species are at-risk due to past, present, and future changes to the landscape. WERC’s Dr. Todd Esque, field researchers, and collaborators are using models, monitoring plans, and decision-support tools to provide land managers with the resources they need to answer questions about how environmental change influences plants,...

Contacts: Todd Esque
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Ecological Stressors - Rocky Coastlines, Mangroves, Marshes, Droughts, and Storms

Coastal estuaries that contain marshes and mangroves are currently being reshaped by changing ocean and atmospheric conditions through prolong drought, sea-level rise and increased extreme storm events. Many projected increases in sea-level are expected to result in loss of tidal wetlands and their component species. In addition, changing sediment loads, extreme tide and storm events, and...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Supporting Informed Responses to Sea-Level Rise

To facilitate communication and outreach of sea level rise research results and implications, Dr. Karen Thorne and members of USGS WERC are hosting in-person workshops along the Pacific coast at different sites in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

California Sea Otter Stranding Network

The California Sea Otter Stranding Network is part of the USGS effort to monitor southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and provide data to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. WERC's sea otter team works with multiple institutions and partners to report, recover, and examine stranded sea otters. In addition, instructions on how to report a stranded sea otter are included in this webpage...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Process-based Approaches for Ecological Restoration of Degraded Drylands

Surface disturbances ranging from military training, recreation, energy exploration and development, and wildfires impact a large majority of federal lands in the western US, but the ecological and economic impacts are poorly understood. Explore this webpage to learn how Dr. Lesley DeFalco and her research team are currently evaluating and refining conventional approaches for post-fire...

Contacts: Lesley DeFalco
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Native Plant Materials for Ecological Restoration of Degraded Drylands

There is a growing consensus among resource managers to use native plant materials for ecological restoration of degraded drylands. Some plant species may be suitable for re-introduction across broad environmental gradients. Other species may fail under narrower conditions, or their re-introduction may have genetic consequences for local ecotypes, particularly when adapting to future climate...

Contacts: Lesley DeFalco
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Conservation of Rare, Sensitive, and At-risk Desert Plant Species

The Mojave Desert is among the hottest and driest of the North American drylands, but in spite of these extreme conditions, and in part because of them, a diverse flora exists. This diversity of rare, endemic, and endangered species is threatened by the complex interaction between fluctuating climate and human-mediated disturbances. USGS studies have identified rare species “hotspots” for...

Contacts: Lesley DeFalco
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Waterbird Breeding Ecology and Management

The San Francisco Bay is designated as a site of hemispheric importance to shorebirds and annually supports over one million waterbirds. Within the USGS WERC waterbird breeding ecology program, Dr. Josh Ackerman and partners are studying habitat selection, movements, and factors influencing waterbird nest success and chick growth and survival. 

Contacts: Josh T Ackerman
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Wetland Restoration in the San Francisco Bay Delta and Pacific Northwest

Estuaries and healthy coastal habitats are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth. They provide a variety of benefits, including habitat and food for fish and wildlife, flood and erosion protection, improved water quality, increased carbon sequestration, as well as beautiful scenery and opportunities for recreation.  Along the U.S. Pacific Coast, both the San Francisco Bay estuary and...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Contaminants in Waterbirds and Effects on Avian Reproduction

California’s Central Valley and San Francisco Bay Estuary have a long history of mercury contamination from past mercury mining and gold extraction. Waterbirds are particularly susceptible to mercury because of their use of wetland habitats where methylmercury (the most toxic and biologically available form) is produced and relatively low methylmercury exposure can reduce reproductive success...

Contacts: Josh T Ackerman
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

California Sea Otter Surveys and Research

WERC collaborates with other research scientists to conduct annual population surveys of the southern sea otter -- a federally listed threatened species. In coordination with the California Department of Fish and Game and other institutions, ongoing surveys and research continues to inform the southern sea otter recovery plan for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and contributes to our...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Mercury Bioaccumulation in Wetlands

Wetlands provide numerous ecosystem services, but also can be sources of methylmercury production and export. Click the next tab to learn how WERC's Dr. Josh Ackerman is evaluating the ecological factors that drive contaminant bioaccumulation in wetland-dependent fish and wildlife.

Contacts: Josh T Ackerman
Filter Total Items: 583
Date published: December 14, 2018

NWIS Real-time Groundwater and Surface Water Data for San Bernardino County, CA

Links to real-time groundwater and surface water data for USGS sites in San Bernardino County.  All data links are to the USGS National Water Information System online database.

Date published: December 13, 2018

Lower Colorado River Hydrologic Monitoring Network

The Lower Colorado Monitoring Network, located along the All-American Canal in Imperial County, California, is a series of groundwater-level and water-quality wells, as well as streamgages and micro-gravity sites. This interactive map displays the sites and provides links to the most current data.

Date published: December 6, 2018

Downloadable Data for Western Great Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

GIS Data for Western Great Basin Oil and Gas Assessments 

Date published: November 30, 2018

Downloadable Data for Los Angeles Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

GIS Data for Los Angeles Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Date published: November 30, 2018

Downloadable Data for Santa Maria Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

GIS Data for Santa Maria Basin Oil and Gas Assessments 

Date published: November 30, 2018

Downloadable Data for Ventura Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Downloadable Data for Ventura Basin Oil and Gas Assessments 

Date published: November 30, 2018

Downloadable Data for Central Coastal Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

GIS Data for Central Coastal Basin Oil and Gas Assessments 

Date published: November 30, 2018

Downloadable Data for Sonoma-Livermore Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

GIS Data Sonoma-Livermore Basin Oil and Gas Assessments 

Date published: November 30, 2018

Downloadable Data for Northern Coastal Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Northern Coastal Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Date published: November 29, 2018

Downloadable Data for San Joaquin Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Downloadable Data for San Joaquin Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Date published: November 29, 2018

Downloadable Data for Sacramento Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Downloadable Data for Sacramento Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Date published: November 8, 2018

2010 Estimated California Water Use

Withdrawal estimates for each category represent the total amount of water removed from the water source, regardless of how much of that total is consumptively used. In most cases, some fraction of the total withdrawal will be returned to the same or a different water source after use and is available for other withdrawals.

Filter Total Items: 481
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Year Published: 2009

Pilot study to access the role of Ceratomyxa shasta infection in mortality of fall-run Chinook smolts migrating through the lower Klamath River in 2008

Apparent survival and migration rate of radio-tagged hatchery subyearling Chinook salmon released at Iron Gate Hatchery was monitored in the Klamath River to see if the timing of mortality coincided with observations of ceratomyxosis in re-captured coded wire tag cohorts. Despite rapid emigration, these relatively large (mean fork length 92 mm)...

Foott, Scott; Stutzer, Greg; Fogerty, R.; Hansel, Hal; Juhnke, Steven; Beeman, John W.

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Year Published: 2009

Trophic relationships of small nonnative fishes in a natural creek and several agricultural drains flowing into the Salton Sea, and their potential, effects on the endangered desert pupfish

This study was conducted to characterize trophic relationships of small nonnative fishes and to determine if predation by these fishes contributes to the decline of desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius), an endangered cyprinodont on the verge of extinction. We sampled 403 hybrid Mozambique tilapias (Oreochromis mossambica by O. urolepis), 107...

Martin, Barbara A.; Saiki, Michael K.
Trophic relationships of small nonnative fishes in a natural creek and several agricultural drains flowing into the salton sea, and their potential, effects on the endangered desert pupfish; 2009; Article; Journal; Southwestern Naturalist; Martin, B. A.; Saiki, M. K.

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Year Published: 2009

Utilization by fishes of the Alviso Island ponds and adjacent waters in south san francisco bay following restoration to tidal influence

Earthen levees of three isolated salt ponds known locally as the Alviso Island Ponds were intentionally breached in March 2006 to allow tidal exchange of the ponds with water from Coyote Creek. The water exchange transformed the previously fishless hypersaline ponds into lower salinity habitats suitable for fish life. This study documented fish...

Saiki, M. K.; Mejia, F.H.
Utilization by fishes of the Alviso Island ponds and adjacent waters in south san francisco bay following restoration to tidal influence; 2009; Article; Journal; California Fish and Game; Saiki, M. K.; Mejia, F. H.

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Year Published: 2009

Task 1: Whole-body concentrations of elements in kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus), kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens), and Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) from offshore oil platforms and natural areas in the Southern California Bight

Resource managers are concerned that offshore oil platforms in the Southern California Bight may be contributing to environmental contaminants accumulated by marine fishes. To examine this possibility, 18 kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus), 80 kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens), and 98 Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) were collected from...

Love, Milton S.

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Year Published: 2008

Finite-fault analysis of the 2004 Parkfield, California, earthquake using Pnl waveforms

We apply a kinematic finite-fault inversion scheme to Pnl displacement waveforms recorded at 14 regional stations (Δ<2°) to recover the distribution of coseismic slip for the 2004 Parkfield earthquake using both synthetic Green’s functions (SGFs) calculated for one-dimensional (1D) crustal-velocity models and empirical Green...

Mendoza, C.; Hartzell, S.
Finite-fault analysis of the 2004 Parkfield, California, earthquake using Pnl waveforms; 2008; Article; Journal; Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America; Mendoza, C. ; Hartzell, S.

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Year Published: 2008

Landslide risk in the San Francisco Bay region

We have used historical records of damaging landslides triggered by rainstorms, and a newly developed Probabilistic Landslide Assessment Cost Estimation System (PLACES), to estimate the numbers and direct costs of future landslides in the San Francisco Bay region. The estimated annual cost of future landslides in the entire region is about US $15...

Coe, J.A.; Crovelli, R.A.
Landslide risk in the San Francisco Bay region; 2008; Article; Conference publication; Landslides an d Engineered Slopes, From the Past to the Future, Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Landslides, June 30-July 4, 2008, Xi'an, China; Coe, J. A.; Crovelli, R. A.

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Year Published: 2008

Ferguson rock slide buries California State Highway near Yosemite National Park

During spring 2006, talus from the toe area of a rock-block slide of about 800,000 m3 buried California State Highway 140, one of the main routes into heavily-visited Yosemite National Park, USA. Closure of the highway for 92 days caused business losses of about 4.8 million USD. The rock slide, composed of slate and phyllite, moved slowly...

Harp, Edwin L.; Reid, Mark E.; Godt, Jonathan W.; DeGraff, Jerome V.; Gallegos, Alan J.
Ferguson rock slide buries California State Highway near Yosemite National Park; 2008; Article; Journal; Landslides; Harp, Edwin L.; Reid, Mark E.; Godt, Jonathan W.; DeGraff, Jerome V.; Gallegos, Alan J.

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Year Published: 2008

Predicted surface displacements for scenario earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay region

In the immediate aftermath of a major earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will be called upon to provide information on the characteristics of the event to emergency responders and the media. One such piece of information is the expected surface displacement due to the earthquake. In conducting probabilistic hazard analyses for the San...

Murray-Moraleda, Jessica R.
Predicted Surface Displacements for Scenario Earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Region; 2008; OFR; 2008-1375; Murray-Moraleda, Jessica R.

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Year Published: 2008

Environmental factors affecting mercury in Camp Far West Reservoir, California, 2001-03

This report documents water quality in Camp Far West Reservoir from October 2001 through August 2003. The reservoir, located at approximately 300 feet above sea level in the foothills of the northwestern Sierra Nevada, California, is a monomictic lake characterized by extreme drawdown in the late summer and fall. Thermal stratification in summer...

Alpers, Charles N.; Stewart, A. Robin; Saiki, Michael K.; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Topping, Brent R.; Rider, Kelly M.; Gallanthine, Steven K.; Kester, Cynthia A.; Rye, Robert O.; Antweiler, Ronald C.; De Wild, John F.
Environmental Factors Affecting Mercury in Camp Far West Reservoir, California, 2001-03; 2008; SIR; 2006-5008; Alpers, Charles N.; Stewart, A. Robin; Saiki, Michael K.; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Topping, Brent R.; Rider, Kelly M.; Gallanthine, Steven K.; Kester, Cynthia A.; Rye, Robert O.; Antweiler, Ronald C.; De Wild, John F.

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Year Published: 2008

Using Logistic Regression to Predict the Probability of Debris Flows in Areas Burned by Wildfires, Southern California, 2003-2006

Logistic regression was used to develop statistical models that can be used to predict the probability of debris flows in areas recently burned by wildfires by using data from 14 wildfires that burned in southern California during 2003-2006. Twenty-eight independent variables describing the basin morphology, burn severity, rainfall, and soil...

Rupert, Michael G.; Cannon, Susan H.; Gartner, Joseph E.; Michael, John A.; Helsel, Dennis R.
Using Logistic Regression to Predict the Probability of Debris Flows in Areas Burned by Wildfires, Southern California, 2003-2006; 2008; OFR; 2008-1370; Rupert, Michael G.; Cannon, Susan H.; Gartner, Joseph E.; Michael, John A.; Helsel, Dennis R.

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Year Published: 2008

Sediment Deposition, Erosion, and Bathymetric Change in Central San Francisco Bay: 1855-1979

Central San Francisco Bay is the hub of a dynamic estuarine system connecting the San Joaquin and Sacramento River Deltas, Suisun Bay, and San Pablo Bay to the Pacific Ocean and South San Francisco Bay. To understand the role that Central San Francisco Bay plays in sediment transport throughout the system, it is necessary to first determine...

Fregoso, Theresa A.; Foxgrover, Amy C.; Jaffe, Bruce E.
Sediment Deposition, Erosion, and Bathymetric Change in Central San Francisco Bay: 1855-1979; 2008; OFR; 2008-1312; Fregoso, Theresa A.; Foxgrover, Amy C.; Jaffe, Bruce E.

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Year Published: 2008

Survival and migration behavior of juvenile coho salmon in the Klamath River relative to discharge at Iron Gate Dam, Northern California, 2007

This report describes a study of survival and migration behavior of juvenile coho salmon in the Klamath River relative to discharge at Iron Gate Dam in 2006. This was the second year of a multi-year study with the goal of determining the effects of discharge at Iron Gate Dam on survival of juvenile coho salmon downstream. The study was a...

Beeman, John W.; Stutzer, Greg; Juhnke, Steve; Hetrick, Nicholas
Survival and Migration Behavior of Juvenile Coho Salmon in the Klamath River Relative to Discharge at Iron Gate Dam, Northern California, 2007; 2008; OFR; 2008-1332; Beeman, John W.; Juhnke, Steve; Stutzer, Greg; Hetrick, Nicholas

Filter Total Items: 1,116
Vegetation in foreground up on a beach bluff above flat beach with waves.
May 23, 2018

Sunset State Beach Video Camera 2 time-exposure

Two video cameras overlook the coast at Sunset State Beach in Watsonville, California. Camera 1 looks northwest while Camera 2 looks north. Every half hour during daylight hours, the cameras collect snapshots and video for 10 minutes. The various imagery collected:

  • Snapshot: first frame of the video, just like a standard photo
  • Timex (time-exposure):
...
Vegetation in foreground up on a beach bluff above flat beach with waves.
May 23, 2018

Sunset State Beach Video Camera 2 variance image

Two video cameras overlook the coast at Sunset State Beach in Watsonville, California. Camera 1 looks northwest while Camera 2 looks north. Every half hour during daylight hours, the cameras collect snapshots and video for 10 minutes. The various imagery collected:

  • Snapshot: first frame of the video, just like a standard photo
  • Timex (time-exposure):
...
Photo of the stern of a ship at a dock with people standing together, and a bridge is in the far distance.
May 21, 2018

Ready for data collection

USGS scientists aboard R/V Bold Horizon at the dock in San Diego, CA, preparing for a sampling and data collection research cruise offshore of Oceanside.

Giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas)
May 14, 2018

Threatened Giant Gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas)

Threatened giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas). This semi-aquatic snake lives in rice fields and the remaining wetlands of California's Central Valley.

Vista of Buda, Eagle Ford, and Austin Formations, Terrell County, Texas (March 10, 2015)
May 8, 2018

Vista of Buda, Eagle Ford, and Austin Formations, Terrell County

One charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Energy Resources Science Center is conducting field work to
better understand the distribution of hydrocarbon source rocks as input to USGS oil and gas
assessments. This 2015 image is a view to the south-southeast of rocks exposed along an unnamed
draw near Antonio Creek, Terrell County, Texas. The Buda Limestone is

...
a lone Joshua tree stands out amongs desert scrub and fluffy clouds in a blue sky
May 2, 2018

Joshua Tree, Edwards Air Force Base, Antelope Valley, CA

Joshua trees dot the desert landscape on Edwards Air Force Base in Antelope Valley, CA.  

Cover of The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—We Can Outsmart Disaster
April 30, 2018

Cover of The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—We Can Outsmart Disaster

Cover of The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—We Can Outsmart Disaster, USGS Fact Sheet 2018-3016

Attribution: Natural Hazards
April 26, 2018

PubTalk 4/2018 - Coral Reefs

Title: The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection - Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions

  • Coral reefs are a first line of coastal defense
  • We can account for the physical defense that reefs provide
  • We can provide value-based information to guide restoration efforts at management-relevant
Photo of absolute-gravity meter next to a groundwater well in the field
April 25, 2018

Changes in Earth's Gravity Reveal Changes in Groundwater Storage

Did you know that changes in the amount of water in aquifers cause small changes in Earth’s gravitational field? When the amount of groundwater in an aquifer changes, either by recharge or by discharge to surface water or wells, the gravitational acceleration at the land surface also changes. In this photo, USGS Research Hydrologist Jeff Kennedy is making measurements of

...
Attribution: Water Resources
April 20, 2018

MODIS and VIIRS Observe Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor is located onboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor is located onboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and data products created by NASA provide a continuation of the MODIS data heritage. These data are crucial

View from a rooftop looking down into a cove with gentle ocean waves, coastal bluffs, surfers and anchored boat in distance.
April 19, 2018

Cowells Beach Snapshot

Snapshot, or first frame of from a 10-minute video taken on April 19, 2018, in Santa Cruz, California. View is from atop a hotel looking down on Cowells Beach, a popular surf spot. Researchers at the USGS are using these and other video images to improve understanding and computer modeling of beach processes, especially those that change the coast. 

...
April 18, 2018

HayWired Scenario - Movie

The HayWired earthquake scenario, led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), anticipates the impacts of a hypothetical magnitude-7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The fault is along the east side of California’s San Francisco Bay and is among the most active and dangerous in the United States, because it runs through a densely urbanized and interconnected region. 

Filter Total Items: 986
USGS science for a changing world logo
February 19, 2015

MENLO PARK, Calif.— A paper published today in Science provides a case for increasing transparency and data collection to enable strategies for mitigating the effects of human-induced earthquakes caused by wastewater injection associated with oil and gas production in the United States.

2014 South Napa Earthquake in California
January 28, 2015

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- 

Five months after the South Napa earthquake, scientists gathered on Wednesday at the U.S. Geological Survey to talk about what they're learning from it and what it means for the next big one here in the Bay Area.

A screenshot of the Walker Basin Hydro Mapper homepage shows current Walker River Basin conditions.
January 14, 2015

The newly released web-based Walker Basin Hydro Mapper aims to provide real-time visualization of streamflow, and waterbody stage and volume in the Walker River Basin.

Image: Steve Hickman Earthquake Science Center Director
January 12, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Stephen Hickman to serve as the new director of the USGS Earthquake Science Center, headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

Woman stands on beach below eroded parking area, while some men are standing and looking down at beach.
December 18, 2014

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Acting USGS Director Suzette Kimball, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee took part in a coastal climate change field trip led by USGS research geologist Patrick Barnard on December 18, 2014.

USGS
December 18, 2014

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that Interior’s Southwest Climate Science Center is awarding nearly a million dollars to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

USGS
December 11, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey is hosting three media availabilities on Friday, Dec. 12 at high-water areas on the Russian River near Geyserville, Calif.; the Sacramento River at Delta, Calif; and Cache Creek near Yolo, Calif. A hydrologist will be available for interviews as field crews collect data.

Historical photo of a flood on Willamette River in Oregon from 1964
December 11, 2014

The Christmas flood of 1964 encompassed about 200,000 square miles, or roughly the size of France, resulted in 47 deaths, left thousands homeless and caused more than $540 million ($3.9 billion today) worth of damage.

Map showing drought coverage of California
December 8, 2014

A newly released interactive California Drought visualization website aims to provide the public with atlas-like, state-wide coverage of the drought and a timeline of its impacts on water resources.

Earthquake swarm near Lassen Volcanic Center Nov 6 to Nov 12, 2014...
November 12, 2014

CalVO is tracking an earthquake swarm that began on November 9 located at the Tehama County-Plumas County border within Lassen National Forest.

Seismicity in the Long Valley Volcanic Region between 2004 and 2014...
October 31, 2014

A cataclysmic eruption of 600 km3 of rhyolite magma (Bishop Tuff) about 760,000 years ago resulted in the collapse of the partially evacuated magma chamber to form the present 17 by 32 km (10 by 20 mi) Long Valley Caldera.