The great earthquake of 9 January 1857 ruptured some 300 kilometers of the San Andreas fault between the Parkfield segment
and the southern segment
. Although only two deaths were reported in 1857, today many towns lie on or near the fault, as well as two interstate highways and two aqueducts supplying the Los Angeles megalopolis. Another great earthquake is not thought to be imminent here, although the fault is locked and accumulating strain.
In the middle of the central segment is the "big bend" where the fault swings nearly 40 degrees toward the northwest. The resulting tectonic forces have uplifted mountain ranges on both sides and the land on the fault reaches its highest point, approximately 2000 meters.
Follow the San Andreas fault through this region on the interactive fault map at Thule Scientific, publisher of the excellent Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault.
Many photos also have contemporary descriptions of the quake.
San Andreas fault home page