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Geologist's dream unearthed by the 405 construction project (photos)

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

The 405 from the Mulholand bridge. Recent contraction on the freeway has unearthed rock formations that haven't seen the light of day for millions of years.

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

Jurassic era cretaceous sandstone has been uncovered during the 405 construction.

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

Cretaceous sandstone exposed during road work on the 405 underneath the Getty Museum.

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

Rocks that haven't seen the light of day for millions of years have been dug up during road work on the 405. Santa Monica slate can be seen the Skirball Cultural Center.

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

Santa Monica slate that has been unearthed during 405 construction, most of the weak rock has had retaining walls built to keep the slate from spilling onto the freeway.

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

Modelo formation on the San Fernando Valley side of the Sepulveda pass.

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

The model formation is so weak it easily crumbles by simply squeezing it with a hand.

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

Modelo formation is a sedimentary rock forming many layers, but this also makes it very weak and prone to slides.

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Ken Scarboro/KPCC

A modelo formation deposit along Sepulveda Boulevard on the Valley side of the Sepulveda pass.


If you're heading to grandma's house this week and you're stuck on the 405, consider this: While the 405 expansion project through the Sepulveda Pass may be a headache for you, it's had a silver lining for geologists.

The roadwork has given them a rare glimpse into the history of the Santa Monica Mountains. KPCC's Science Reporter Sanden Totten recently took a road trip through the eons.


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