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The Southern San Andreas Fault


The southernmost stretch of the San Andreas fault, next to the central segment, has not ruptured in historic time. It is thought capable of a magnitude 8 event, as large as any known California earthquake.

These photos start at the southern end of the San Andreas fault, near the shore of the Salton Sea. To the south is a small segment of crustal spreading—a genuine divergent plate margin just like those in the deep sea, but here it is deeply covered with sediment brought in by the Colorado River. Thermal activity here takes the form of small volcanoes, seep fields and geothermal power plants. At the other end of the spreading segment, the Imperial fault begins (just off the map) and crosses into Mexico. Explore these faults on the U.S. Geological Survey's index map.

In many places the fault can be traced using the satellite view of Google Maps or the interactive map from Thule Scientific, publisher of the excellent Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault.

San Andreas fault home page

Images 1-12 of 17
Get your bearingsSouthern San Andreas Fault Index MapSign of deep heatRed Island, Salton SeaSome of the state's youngest rocksRed Island Volcanic RocksA color contrastSan Andreas Fault Trace at Salt Creek
Into the desertFault Trace South of Salt CreekSigns of strainUpturned Beds at Salt CreekNatural trenching studyFault Trace in Stream CutDo not disturbCaltech Creepmeter at the Fault Trace
A bump in the roadSan Andreas Fault Trace, North ShoreSigns of fresh motionFacets on the San Andreas Fault Near CoachellaPressure-ridge rangeSan Andreas Fault in the Indio HillsPalms follow the faultThousand Palms Oasis
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