Point Reyes Lighthouse, Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes Lighthouse, Point Reyes National Seashore

by | Jun 4, 2020

The Point Reyes National Seashore is a 71,028-acre (28,744 ha) park preserve located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, 35 miles (56 km) northwest of San Francisco and 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Inverness, California. The Point Reyes Headlands extend 10 miles (16 km) out to sea and pose a significant hazard to ships traveling along the coast. The point is an erosion-resistant rock formation of the Salinian terrane that lies west of the main trace of the San Andreas Fault system with exposures at Bodega Head to the north and Mount Pinos to the south.

In 1595, the Spanish galleon San Agustin sought shelter from a storm here, but the captain mistakenly ran the ship aground in Drakes Bay thinking that Point Reyes was an island. Point Reyes was named by Sebastian Vizcaino, who sailed along the California coast in 1603. Despite many shipwrecks, the point would remain unmarked for another 267 years.

A lighthouse was authorized for Point Reyes in 1855, but construction was delayed for fifteen years while the Lighthouse Board negotiated with landowners over a fair price for the land. Fourteen shipwrecks occurred in the years the price was under dispute. The light at Point Reyes was built in 1870 to warn mariners of this navigational hazard and was actively manned for 105 years. In 1975, the U.S. Coast Guard transferred ownership of the lighthouse to the National Park Service. Read more about the Point Reyes Light here and here. Explore more of Point Reyes here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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