The San Andreas Fault

1 January 2017

The San Andreas Fault is an intense, significant geological feature that greatly affected the passionate study of earthquakes. The San Andreas Fault influenced the notable geological characteristics such as wealthy minerals and created rare, breath-taking sceneries. This catastrophic geological feature motivated scientists to learn more of its powers and what we can do to better prepare for it earthquakes. I chose this geological feature because it constantly changes and affects the reoccurrence of earthquakes and its various severity levels.

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Before learning about the San Andrea Fault, I thought it had similar characteristics of a volcano—it has tendencies to erupt and it can eternally become dormant. After reading and researching this geological feature, I realized that I have a lot more to know and understand. My motivation for this paper is enlighten my audience about why the San Andreas Fault is dangerously important in geological history. The San Andreas Fault is one of the world’s oldest geological features and yet still one of the youngest geological features according to Geologists.

The San Andreas Fault was formed over 25 million years ago. The San Andreas Fault is located California and it sits between the North American (East side) and Pacific Ocean (West side) lithospheric plates. California is commonly recognized as being a major part of the Circum-pacific Belt or what some may call, “Ring of Fire. ” The Circum-Pacific Belt is shaped like a “horseshoe” of lively seismic energy. Earthquakes, tectonic plate boundaries, and volcanoes are stationed along this belt-line.

The San Andreas Fault was created because of the strike and slipping motions of the North American moving in the south direction and Pacific Ocean moving in the north direction. The San Andreas Fault is commonly known as a transform fault. A transform fault is made when two plates slip and slide past one another on a vertically positioned fault surface. The “cracked” surface of the San Andreas Fault line stretches over 800 miles and is over 9 miles deep within the Earth. The plates within the San Andreas Fault line are slowly and constantly moving in a horizontal direction.

Geologists have studied and concluded that the plates are moving past one another at an average distance of couple or so inches a year. These extremely slow moving motions that these plates are making will eventually create tension. The tension within the fault is caused when the plates lock up (plates can remain locked for years). Over several years, the locked plates will buildup extreme tensions and break the rocks along the fault line. The pressured plates begin to slip and strike a few more feet in one setting. The breakage of rocks signals out seismic waves in several routes that we recognize as earthquakes.

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