San Andreas Fault

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The San Andreas Fault is a continental transform fault that runs a length of roughly 810 miles (1,300 km) through California in the United States. The fault's motion is right-lateral strike-slip (horizontal motion). It forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate.

The fault was first identified in Northern California by UC Berkeley geology professor Andrew Lawson in 1895 and named by him after a small lake which lies in a linear valley formed by the fault just south of San Francisco, the Laguna de San Andreas. After the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Lawson also discovered that the San Andreas Fault stretched southward into Southern California. Large-scale (hundreds of miles) lateral movement along the fault was first proposed in a 1953 paper by geologists Mason Hill and Thomas Dibblee.[1]


Segments of the fault

The San Andreas Fault can be divided into three segments.

Southern segment

The southern segment (known as the Mojave segment) begins near the Salton Sea at the northern terminus of the East Pacific Rise and runs northward before it begins a slow bend to the west where it meets the San Bernardino Mountains. It runs along the southern base of the San Bernardino Mountains, crosses through the Cajon Pass and continues to run northwest along the northern base of the San Gabriel Mountains. These mountains are a result of movement along the San Andreas Fault and are commonly called the Transverse Range. In Palmdale, a portion of the fault is easily examined as a roadcut for the Antelope Valley Freeway runs directly through it. Box Canyon, just southeast of Palm Springs, is a dramatic section. [2]

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