Tafoni.com for Everyone! Story/Photos by John Vonderlin

Tafoni: Miniature Natural Wonders
Story/Photos by John Vonderlin
Email John ([email protected])
Hi June,

In a recent posting I referred to the new website, Tafoni.com, which is dedicated to the minor natural wonders, tafoni, for which the Coastside is ground zero. Although, tafoni are found all over the world, from the Alps to the Sahara Desert, we have the greatest concentration, and in my opinion the most interesting types right here along our Coastside.

While exploring the site, I noticed a type of tafoni new to me, and so odd that I felt I had to investigate and find some to photograph myself. This new-to-me type is called “boxed tafoni” or “tafoni with boxworks.” On the “Enter” page of Tafoni.com you can see an example if you look in the middle, towards the top of the largest picture. You’ll see what looks like rectangular, nested boxes seen from the top. If you check out the Northern California section in the Gallery at the site, you’ll see three examples of these oddities.

After the disappointment of finding the crumbled remnants of WALDO, the Sea Arch, we drove to Bean Hollow Beach parking lot and headed south along the Arroyo de Frijoles Beach. There is a small, lightly used trail up the steep hill and into the forest of tafoni festooning the ocean side of the cove’s southern promontory.

With a new appreciation of these little oddities fine-tuning my perception, I started seeing all sorts of wonderful variations of them. I was clicking my camera almost every few feet, when I was startled to see two wonderful examples of “boxed tafon”i right in front of me. Here’s what they look like in close-up. I’ll salute anyone who can clearly explain the mysterious forces that produce such an illogical, unnatural-appearing erosional feature.

If you’d like to see these tafonis, and their amazing neighbors, check out the surrounding area at Picture #200810017 on CCRP. The best concentration of the tafonis are just above the surf, directly down the page from where Highway 1 disappears behind a hill. Enjoy. John

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