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Though a number of habitats are found here, sandy beach,
cobble, rocky reef, tidepools, the major feature is the La Jolla Submarine
Canyon which reaches a depth of 120 meters (400 feet) within the Reserve. Its
head lies some 300 meters (950 feet) offshore in about 10 meters (30 feet) of
water. The walls, which near the
head are cut in mudstone and further out in rock, drop 45 meters (150 feet) in a
short distance, forming spectacular cliffs.
In comparison with Scripps, the canyon is much broader but, in general,
does not have as steep walls. Within
the canyon there are a number of small hanging valleys and sand chutes.
The floor is sandy. After the
canyon's juncture with Scripps 1,495 meters (4,900 feet) from its head and at a
depth of 275 meters (900 feet) below sea level, it continues downslope, meeting
a fan that inclines gently to the bottom of the San Diego trough at a depth of
900 meters (3,000 feet).
In the shallow areas at the head of the canyon there are
stands of eel grass, Zostera marina, and giant kelp, Macrocystis
The steep banks provide habitats for boring clams,
crabs, and other invertebrates including the most unusual sea star, Poraniopsis
inflata and Ctenodiscus crispatus. On
the northern edge of the canyon are many gorgonian corals.
The Reserve is rich in algae and marine fauna.
In addition to the species mentioned in La Jolla Bay
Point La Jolla - Tourmaline Canyon Intertidal Area, the squid,
Lodigo opalescens, is common here, utilizing the heads of La
Sea lions, Zalophus californianus, make use of one of
the small tributary canyons as a meeting place; extensive remains of sea lions
are found on the floor of this canyon.
Indian artifacts have been uncovered near the head of
Integrity: The area, which had been heavily used by
divers and collectors, is now fully protected by the City of San Diego. The
protected area is distinctly marked by buoys. No plant, animal or geological
material may be taken.
Ref: Shepard, F. P. and K. O. Emery, 1941. Submarine
Topography off the California Coast. Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec. Paper 31, pp..
Shepard, F. P. 1963.
Submarine Geology. Harper
& Row, New York. pp. 312-317.
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