We keep hearing about the big one, what exactly is the San Andreas Fault and can it affect you?
The San Andreas fault was first identified in Northern California by UC Berkeley geology professor Andrew Lawson in 1895 and named by him after the Laguna de San Andreas, a small lake which lies in a linear valley formed by the fault just south of San Francisco. Eleven years later, Lawson discovered that the San Andreas Fault stretched southward into southern California after reviewing the effects of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Large-scale (hundreds of miles) lateral movement along the fault was first proposed in a 1953 paper by geologists Mason Hill and Thomas Dibblee. This idea, which was considered radical at the time, has since been vindicated by modern plate tectonics.
The San Andreas Fault is a place where two tectonic plates touch, the North American and Pacific Plates. The plates are rigid (or almost rigid) slabs of rock that comprise the crust and upper mantle of the Earth. The San Andreas Fault (SAF) is about 700 miles long, and about 800 miles long when its curves are measured. It is roughly ten miles deep, and reaches from the Salton Sea in Imperial county to Cape Mendocino in Humboldt county.
Check out the map to see where you fall closest to the fault line. Not many of us in California won’t be affected if this big earthquake fault line moves. Scientists believe that the shock waves alone created by a large enough earthquake on the San Andreas Fault could cause significant damage to homes and businesses not to mention the loss of human life. So be prepared. Check your supplies, have a plan with your family and make sure your earthquake insurance is in place and up to date.
Here in California we’ve had several earthquakes in just the past few days and even hours. Are you prepared?