The San Andreas fault zone main content.

The San Andreas fault zone

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

San Andreas Fault Zone AMNH/R.Mickens

Exhibition Text

The 1,200-kilometer-long San Andreas fault zone is part of the boundary between the Pacific and North American plates, and thus is known as a transform fault. It connects the East Pacific Rise in the Gulf of California with the junction of the Mendocino fracture zone and the Cascade subduction zone to the north. The Pacific plate has moved about 300 kilometers northward relative to the North American plate since the fault began, some 30 million years ago. Moving at 5 to 7 centimeters a year, the San Andreas is one of the most active fault zones in the world.

For Educators

Topic: Earth Science

Subtopic: Plate Tectonics

Keywords: Geology, Earthquakes, Plate tectonics, San Andreas Fault (Calif.)

Audience: General