• Gretchen Lang

Strawberry native aims to share geology of Angel Island


Christie Rowe (rear), who grew up in Strawberry, is an associate professor of geology at McGill University who’s mapping the geology of Angel Island State Park with doctorate student Meghomita Das (front).

Sometimes world travelers come home to find the most interesting things in their own backyard. Christie Rowe, whose career as a geologist has taken her from Alaska to Japan to southern Africa, has found some of the world’s most unique geology on Angel Island, a stone’s throw from Strawberry, where she grew up.


Rowe, an associate professor of geology at McGill University in Montreal, recently returned home to Strawberry on sabbatical. While there, she and her student Meghomita Das are mapping the geology of the state park and working with the California parks department to open up its geological wonders to the public.


Angel Island is part of the Franciscan Complex, a belt of marine sedimentary and igneous rocks that were deformed and metamorphosed during the Mesozoic Era.


“It’s such an interesting linchpin in understanding the whole structure of the Bay Area. The rocks are some of the most high-pressure rocks that you can find in the Bay Area — they record the deepest part of the subduction zone. They’re exceptionally beautiful, and because it’s a state park it’s possible to get access.”


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