What You’ll Find Along the San Andreas Fault

A look at what you'll find along the southern portion of the 800-mile-long San Andreas Fault east of Los Angeles.

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CALIPATRIA, CA - JUNE 30: Mud boils violently in steam vents that, until recently, were underwater on the floor of the Salton Sea, on June 30 near Calipatria, California. Scientists have discovered that human-created changes effecting the Salton Sea appear to be the reason why California's massive "Big One" earthquake is more than 100 years overdue and building up for the greatest disaster ever to hit Los Angeles and Southern California. Researchers found that strands of the San Andreas Fault under the 45-mile long rift lake have have generated at least five 7.0 or larger quakes about every 180 years. This ended in the early 20th century when authorities stopped massive amounts of Colorado River water from periodically flooding the into this sub-sea level desert basin. Such floods used to regularly trigger major quakes and relieve building seismic pressure but the last big earthquake on the southern San Andreas was about 325 years ago. Dangerous new fault branches that could trigger a 7.8 quake have recently been discovered under the Salton Sea. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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Scientists have warned that after more than 300 years with very little slippage, the southern end of the 800-mile-long San Andreas fault north and east of Los Angeles has built up immense pressure and could produce a massive earthquake at any time. Such a quake could produce a sudden lateral movement of 23 to 32 feet.
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A roadside attraction dinosaur towers over the desert near the San Andreas Fault in Cabazon.
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A natural spring-fed desert oasis is one of many supporting thousands of palm trees that line the San Andreas earthquake fault northeast of Palm Springs.
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Carbon dioxide gas escaping from underground fissures bubbles up from geothermal mudpots, or ''boiling mud pots'', near the southern end of the San Andreas Fault at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge on July 2, 2006 near Calipatria, California. The mudpots which only are to be boiling hot are located over the Salton Sea Geothermal Field where temperatures measured in wells drilled for geothermal brines reach 360 degrees Celsius at depths of 1,500 to 2,500 meters.
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Steam rises as a geothermal power plant taps into energy produced by underground pressures near the southern end of the San Andreas Fault.
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Residents attend a peewee baseball game south of the San Andreas Rift Zone. Experts have predicted that a quake of magnitude-7.6 or greater on the southern San Andreas would kill thousands of people and cause many billions of dollars in damages.
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A freight train passes diagonally-shifted layers of earth as it crosses the San Andreas Rift Zone. A magnitude-7.6 quake along the fault would dwarf the 1994 Northridge disaster near Los Angeles that killed 72 people, injured more than 9,000 and caused $25 billion in damage.
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Cars and trucks travel Interstate 10 near the San Andreas Fault, the main traffic and freight route from Los Angeles-area cities toward Arizona.
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San Bernardino City Hall, located 6.8 miles south of the San Andreas earthquake fault and 3.7 miles east of the San Jacinto Fault.
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Recently built homes are seen in suburban neighborhoods under construction on top of the San Andreas Rift Zone.
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Wind-power generators are seen near the San Andreas Fault near Palm Springs.
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Recently built homes are seen in suburban neighborhoods under construction on top of the San Andreas Rift Zone.
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A tractor passes diagonally-shifted layers of earth as it crosses the San Andreas Rift Zone, the system of depressions in the ground between the parallel faults of the San Andreas earthquake fault, while working on the heavily-used railroad tracks in Cajon Canyon.
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A large crack in the earth is seen in the San Andreas Rift Zone, the system of depressions in the ground between the parallel faults of the San Andreas earthquake fault, west of San Bernardino.
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The east branch of the California Aqueduct, which imports water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, crosses the San Andreas Rift Zone.
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Palm Desert, in the Coachella Valley, where desert cities such as Palm Springs may be threatened by a major earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault, is seen before dawn.
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A natural spring-fed desert oasis is one of many supporting thousands of palm trees that line the San Andreas earthquake fault.
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NBC 5 News
Calculations released in 2008 revealed a 99.7 percent chance that a magnitude 6.7 quake or larger will strike by 2037, according to the first-ever statewide temblor forecast released by the scientists of the United States Geological (USGS), Southern California Earthquake Center and California Geological Survey
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Palm Springs
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The San Andreas Rift Zone, the system of depressions in the ground between the parallel faults of the San Andreas earthquake fault, runs along the north side of San Bernardino.
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Tom Lynch
The San Andreas Fault is where the Pacific and the North American tectonic plates of the Earth's crust collide.
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The east branch of the California Aqueduct, which imports water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, crosses the San Andreas Rift Zone.
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An opening in the earth is seen in the San Andreas Rift Zone.
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Saint Bernadine Hospital, one of many that could be overwhelmed by victims of a massive quake on the San Andreas earthquake fault, is seen in San Bernardino.
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San Bernardino City Hall
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Red Hill, one of the four Salton Buttes, small volcanoes on the southern San Andreas Fault, at the Salton Sea is seen near Calipatria, California.
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A geothermal energy plant taps deep underground heat from the southern San Andreas Fault rift zone near the Salton Sea near Calipatria, California.
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Native palms are seen at San Andreas Spring, one a several where the southern San Andreas Fault pushes water to the surface, supporting tiny endangered pupfish and other wildlife near the Salton Sea.
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MECCA, CA - JULY 3: A valley filled with the swirled shapes of earth layers that were deformed by the collision of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates along the southern San Andreas Fault north of the Salton Sea.
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Layers of earth are pushed into vertical positions by the collision of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates along the southern San Andreas Fault north of the Salton Sea.
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Foundations of buildings of an early 20th century resort that was used before the rising waters of the Salton Sea turned this hill into Mullet Island, one of the four Salton Buttes, small volcanoes on the southern San Andreas Fault.
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Foundations of buildings of an early 20th century resort that was used before the rising waters of the Salton Sea turned this hill into Mullet Island, one of the four Salton Buttes, small volcanoes on the southern San Andreas Fault, near Calipatria, California.
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Steam rises from thermal vents that, until recently, were underwater on the floor of the Salton Sea, near Calipatria, California.
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Steam rises from thermal vents that, until recently, were underwater on the floor of the Salton Sea, Calipatria, California.
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Small mud volcanoes grow above the southern San Andreas Fault near the Salton Sea on Calipatria, California.
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An area of rock quarry activity is seen on Red Hill, one of the four Salton Buttes, small volcanoes on the southern San Andreas Fault at the Salton Sea, near Calipatria, California.
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A road sign that was once flooded by the rising Salton Sea stands on ground dried by evaporation near Calipatria, California.
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A road sign that was once flooded by the rising Salton Sea stands on ground dried by evaporation near Calipatria, California.
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A bridge near Red Hill Marina stands on ground dried by evaporation near Calipatria, California.
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Outhouses and an old lifeguard stand are stored on Red Hill, one of the four Salton Buttes, small volcanoes on the southern San Andreas Fault at the Salton Sea, is seen near Calipatria, California.
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Buildings of an apparent hot mineral spring spa on a mud flat in the thermal fields of the southern San Andreas Fault at the Salton Sea have fallen down, near Calipatria, California.
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Mud boils violently in steam vents that, until recently, were underwater on the floor of the Salton Sea, near Calipatria, California.
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