Out & About—San Andreas Fault

Out & About

I had speaking engagements this past week with the Bakersfield Cactus & Succulent Society (Tuesday) and the San Gabriel Valley (Los Angeles) Cactus & Succulent Society (Thursday). My topic was Nature’s Geometry in Succulents. Both meetings were evening meetings, so I had a lot of daylight both days to go touring. Not to mention all day Wednesday between the two meetings.

I had created a list of places to visit and things to do, leaving at 4:53 a.m. on 2/11/20 for final destination Bakersfield. Google Maps said it would take me 3 hours and 50 minutes to drive from San Diego to Bakersfield. Ha! It took ten hours! TEN HOURS! In defense of Google Maps, though, I stopped here, there, and everywhere to take pictures, pictures which will provide lots of future blogs posts. First on my list was the….

San Andreas Fault

I always have been fascinated with the creation of the Earth, never believing that God was finished creating it. Ergo, earthquakes and volcanoes.

Several years ago I bought a book by David K. Lynch titled Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault. It has twelve driving tours to view anything and everything related to the San Andreas Fault. I took Trip #3 through the San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino to Palmdale.

San Andreas Fault Trip #3

The San Andreas Fault crosses the drive at many points, but the spot I was particularly interested in was one where the fault crosses the road diagonally and is marked on both sides of the road by signs.

San Andreas Fault

San Andreas Fault

Even though that spot was at the top of my San Andreas Fault list, I found two other spots that were far more interesting. The first was where the fault created a rift. On the right side of the rift was the North American Tectonic Plate, and on the left side was the Pacific Tectonic Plate. In the picture below, the train is traveling south on the North American Plate, and I’m on the highway traveling north on the Pacific Plate. How appropriate since the North American Plate also is moving south and the Pacific Plate is moving north. Long-time readers know how infatuated I am with trains, so this picture is my favorite of the fault.

San Andreas Fault

As a former general contractor, Realtor, and home inspector (among other real estate ventures), I found the village of Wrightwood fascinating.

Wrightwood, California

There are 4,500 people in Wrightwood living at about 6,000 feet elevation. All of the houses appeared to be constructed completely of wood: framing, siding, and roofs. The reason is because wood flexes, so earthquake damage won’t be near as massive as it would be with concrete, brick, and stucco buildings.

Wrightwood, California

The fault runs directly through the village, creating offsets, sag ponds, and scarps. A sag pond is a body of fresh water collected in the lowest parts of a depression formed between two sides of a fault, mostly strike-slip faults. Sag ponds are quite common along the San Andreas Fault. Sag ponds have been converted into reservoirs for both livestock and public water resources. One of the sag ponds at Wrightwood had been turned into a community swimming pool.

Sag pond in Wrightwood, California

8 thoughts on “Out & About—San Andreas Fault

  1. mvschulze

    There have been a number of significant quakes along the SAF line in the past years, Just north of LA probably most recent, and the one in S. F. About 25 or 30 years ago. Do ones like that effect areas elsewhere like where you were in these photos? Are new low and high areas created like where you were, or are the “ponds” far less frequently created? M 🙂

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Just like the volcanoes in Hawaii creating new land, earthquakes continue to do their thing. It’s always interesting to follow the Cal Tech seismologist team around after a large earthquake to see what they see without going out there to see it.

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  2. acflory

    I’m…astounded by Wrightwood. Hell, I’m astounded by every resident of the west coast. Knowing there’s a massive fault line and ignoring it in a big city is one thing, seeing right there in your own backyard is…terrifying.

    I’m assuming a ‘sag pond’ could become a lot saggier if the fault line suddenly became active so, what would happen to the water [and people] in that swimming pool????

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I wondered the exact same thing about that swimming pool.

      I grew up along the Gulf Coast in Texas. I have been through 11 major hurricanes from 1965 through 1993 and countless tornadoes, hail storms, and tropical storms. I don’t miss them at all.

      It’s like my wise old grandmother told me in 1967 after Hurricane Beulah destroyed everything in our back yard: “It doesn’t matter where you live. When Mother Nature wants to have her way with you, nothing can stop her.”

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      1. acflory

        Yes, your grandmother is right. Nothing can stop Nature when she’s doing her thing. That’s something we’ve been [re]discovering here in Australia. I fear summers like you would not believe, but…I don’t move away so I suppose it says something about the human capacity to believe it ‘won’t happen to me’. Then again, I have protected my house with everything possible. -shrug-

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