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           I   GEOGRAPHY

                                     Location and  accessibility

                        The Soledad basin is  situated  north of  the  San Gabriel

           Mountains,  in Los Angeles County,  California,  and  its  center  is

           about  35  miles north of the  Los Angeles  civic  center (fig.  1).  Roughly

           an  elongate  parallelogram in  shape,  this  basin has dimensions  of  about

           ten by thirty miles,  with the longer  dimension oriented east-west.

                        Paved highways  traverse  nearly every major  canyon,  while

           graded dirt and  gravel  roads  provide  easy access to  most of the  area

           not  served by  paved  roads.      The  Sierra Pelona,  along the  north border

           of the  basin,  is the least accessible  part of the  area.  U.  s.  Highway 6,

           the Sierra Highway,  traverses the  basin from Newhall  near the  south-

           west margin to  Palmdale  at the  eastern margin.

                       Small  communities are present at intervals  along the  major

           highways  and  along the  main line of the Southern Pacific  Railroad between

           Los Angeles  and  the San  Joaquin Valley,  via  Palmdale  and Mojave,  which

           passes along the  southern margin of the  basin parallel  to  the  Santa Clara


                                      Topography and  drainage

                       The  Soledad basin is open to  the  west and is  surrounded by

           highlands  on  the  other  three  sides.  The  western San Gabriel  Mountains,

           which form the  southern margin of the  Soledad basin,  are  a  series of
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