In place of a well written and intensively researched post I am instead going to put up three random pictures. I've been experimenting with scanning slides recently, and these are three of my latest. They are
Point Reyes National Seashore. Anyone in Northern California is probably familiar with this place. It is also the northernmost outcrop of "Sierran" granites west of the San Andreas Fault, and the hypocenter for the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. ...Or Something used this area as one of his first Where on (Google) Earth?
A view from the Marin Headlands (actually right across from one of the amazing folded chert outcrops) looking back south into San Francisco.
And finally, the Alabama Hills, a small range in the Owens Valley famous for it's spheroidally weathering granite hills and as a location for shooting movies, including Gunga Din, How the West Was Won, and one scene in Gladiator. That's the Sierra Nevada in the background.