Tag Archives: rose canyon fault san diego

The Rose Canyon Fault in San Diego

Out & About

My wise old grandmother helped me start my very first company way back in 1966. It was a typing business. While my friends were out mowing lawns, pulling weeds, and washing cars, I was typing papers for students at Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas.

Eventually I diversified my services so that, in addition to typing, I was proofing papers for spelling errors and poor grammar, and eventually even researching, writing, and typing term papers for those college students.

The first term paper I ever wrote was for a sophomore at Texas A&I. I was only 13, but I (he) got a B+ on that paper! I don’t know if that says something good about me or something bad about the standards of his English class at college.

Nonetheless, the paper was on earthquakes, and ever since then I have always been fascinated by earthquake.

I was at home in College Station, Texas, watching the 1989 World Series when the earthquake hit San Francisco.

Five years later, I was living in San Diego when the Northridge earthquake hit in Los Angeles, with the epicenter just a few hundred feet from where my oldest uncle and his family lived. Their kitchen was separated from the house by a few feet, and the house got red-flagged by the City as uninhabitable.

Although there are a lot of faults that run through the San Diego area, major earthquakes here are few and far between. Hmmmm. Maybe it’s time………

The last earthquake I felt here was the Easter 2010 earthquake in Brawley, Baja California, Mexico. That’s only sixty miles due east of me. It was magnitude 7.2, and virtually destroyed Mexicali and Calexico. The shaking here lasted for about 25 seconds, but no damage. Just a really frightened Zoey the Cool Cat.

Earthquake experts eventually expect a fairly good-sized earthquake to occur here in San Diego on the Rose Canyon Fault:

Southern California showing Rose Canyon Fault

According to those experts, the Rose Canyon Fault has the potential to unleash a 7.5 earthquake. Since the fault goes right underneath downtown San Diego, when it happens, I’m sure it will be “the big one” as far as San Diegans are concerned.

Most of the fault zones in San Diego are not visible on the surface, making them of little interest to someone like me. However, if you go to the Tecolote Recreation Center, you can see very good evidence of the Rose Canyon Fault, as well as a pretty cool sign explaining what you are looking at.

Location of rose canyon fault

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Rose Canyon Fault Zone

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Here is the “50 million year old Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation”:

Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation

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The houses are built right on top of that sandstone formation. As a home inspector, I suspect their foundation pillars probably go pretty deep.

Here is the “half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate” :

Half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate in Rose Canyon

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Pine trees seem to love the Pleistocene conglomerate.

Between the two formations is “a major strand of the Rose Canyon Fault” but you would never know it because it looks like this:

Rose Canyon Fault

Would you let your children play baseball there if you knew it was smack dab on top of what is considered San Diego’s most active and dangerous fault zone?

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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