San Andreas Fault Theory

explanatory Essay
916 words
916 words

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “we learn geology the morning after the earthquake.” Fortunately for those living along the San Andreas Fault line in California, there are people behind the scenes, from geologists to city and emergency planners, who have no intention of waiting that long.
The San Andreas Fault Line, first identified in 1895 by Professor Andrew Lawson of UC Berkeley, is an 800-mile fracture in the Earth’s surface, stretching from the Gulf of California to San Francisco, and is one of the longest faults in the world. It forms the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, with a complex network of smaller faults branching off the main San Andreas line which are responsible for a majority of the areas earthquakes. …show more content…

Back then, no one understood how or why the two rocks were next to each other until around 40 years ago when the theory of plate tectonics was introduced. The purpose of the tectonic theory was to explain the process of earthquakes, not just around the San Andreas Fault, but also on the others that ran concurrent to it.
The theory concluded that around 200 million years ago, the heavy Pacific Plate collided with the lighter North American Plate, and started sliding underneath, a process known as subduction. This continued for 100 million years, until some 20 million years ago, when the Pacific Plate was forced to change direction and started sliding north, creating the San Andreas Fault. Most of California’s population sits on the west side of the fault, the Pacific plate, while the rest of North America is sitting on the east side of the fault, the North American …show more content…

Since record keeping began, sometime in the 18th century, there have been 13 major earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault. However, radiocarbon dating has proved that earthquakes have been happening along the fault for thousands of years. The earliest recorded earthquake happened on July 28, 1769, and was experienced by Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola while he camped along a small lake he named “San Andreas Lake”. Other notable early earthquakes occurred in 1836, 1838, 1865, 1868, and 1890. Unfortunately, there is no seismographic data recorded for these early earthquakes since it was not until 1887 that seismographs began being used in the United

In this essay, the author

  • Explains ralph waldo emerson's quote that geologists learn geology the morning after the earthquake. fortunately for those living along the san andreas fault line in california, there are people behind the scenes.
  • Describes the san andreas fault line as an 800-mile fracture in the earth's surface stretching from the gulf of california to san francisco.
  • Explains that the san andreas fault was first exposed to geologists when the cliffs of mussel rock collapsed during the 1906 earthquake.
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