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Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault, by David K. Lynch

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Lynch, San Andreas Fault Field Guide

Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault by David Lynch

Thule Scientific

The Bottom Line

David Lynch provides more information about visiting this famous fault than anyone ever has before—not just with detailed road logs, photos and maps, but also with enough sound geologic background for regular folks to get deep, long-lasting enjoyment from the journey.


  • Complete GPS and mileage logs using public roads for ordinary cars
  • Sound scientific content with a nongeologist's fresh attitude
  • Spiral bound for flat reading in the field


  • Homebrew book design
  • Thorough but not completely exhaustive
  • PDF version is a bit balky at 108 MB


  • Annotated road logs break the San Andreas fault into 12 easy day trips
  • Sufficient geologic background for deeper appreciation of stops
  • Thorough instructions make it very hard to become lost

Guide Review - Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault, by David K. Lynch

Though California's San Andreas fault is the world's most famous geologic fault, not even most longtime residents can take you to it. But David K. Lynch can, and he wrote and produced "Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault" to put as much information about it as possible in your hands. Lynch breaks the fault's roughly 1000 kilometers of length into 12 day trips stretching from desert Brawley to foggy Point Delgada. A real geologist might take these two at a time, but the beauty of this book is that Lynch, while a scientist, is not a geologist and retains the amateur's pleasure in the journey.

The road logs are intelligently presented with GPS locations plus odometer miles, both cumulative and "deltas" between all stops. Routes can be driven in reverse direction without much trouble. Many landmarks, geologic and human, are listed besides the fault itself. In parts of the fault I know well, Lynch misses little—the remote section north of Parkfield might have included the western detour I take in pages 11-15 of my photo tour, but his route is just as interesting.

This book is now the gold standard for visiting the San Andreas. Sue Hough's "Finding Fault in California" covers additional faults and is still worth owning. While Lynch notes John McPhee's "Assembling California" as good background reading, I would add Philip Fradkin's "Magnitude 8" for its parallel exploration of the San Andreas's relation to California culture. Lynch's field guide joins an illustrious company.

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