Some Faults in California

Fault Picture Fault Type Description
san andreas


Strike-slip faults or transverse faults are caused by shear stress as two fault blocks slide horizontally past eachother (view animated strike-slip fault).

The San Andreas fault is probably the most famous strike-slip fault. It forms the boundary between the Pacific Plate to the west and the North American Plate to the east. It stretches approximately 800 miles from the Salton Sea to San Fransisco and along the Northern Coast of California.

Thrust Faults and Reverse Faults

Thrust faults and reverse faults are very similar in that the hanging wall moves up relative to the footwall. A difference between the two is that in a thrust faults the hanging wall move up and completely slides over and covers the footwall (view animated thrust fault). The type of stress that causes both thrust and reverse faults is compression or rocks being pushed together.

An example of a thrust fault is the Klamath Mountains in Northern California.

Normal Fault

Normal faults are not "normal" because they are the most common, but because they tend to follow the gravitational pull of the fault blocks involved. In this type of fault the hanging wall moves down relative to the footwall (view animated normal fault). This type of movement is cause by tension as the fault blocks move away from eachother.

Some examples of normal faults are the Owens Valley and the Sierra Nevada fault zones.