Essay: San Andreas Fault in California

Sample Essay

Since 19th century naming by geologist Andrew Lawson (Suppe and Crouch, 2004), San Andreas Fault remains a fascinating geological feature in today’s world.  The events that lead to the naming of the fault resulted from Lawson’s observation that fault features were typified by a straight valley on the San Francisco Peninsula that was occupied in part by San Andreas Lake. Specifically, geologist Andrew Lawson prior to naming he noticed indicators of geological movements evident by a linear arrangement of geological features of San Francisco Bay valleys, Santa Clara counties and San Benito.

Geologically, San Andreas Fault is the principal feature of an intricate network of faults that extends from NW (Northwest) California to the Gulf of California in about 600 miles or an equivalent of 965 km in length.  The significance of this fault is that it is an important geological feature in the sense that it demarcates the boundary between North American and Pacific tectonic plates. These two tectonic plates are amongst seven major shard-like fragments of the earth’s crust recognized in the geological world. According to latest drilling activities, the fault penetrates as deep as 20 miles or 30 km from the surface of the earth crust to the viscous rock material of the outer mantle (Gordon 2192).

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