Will California Fall into the Ocean?

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Will California Fall into the Ocean?

Despite rumors that a large earthquake will cause California to break off into the ocean, there is no need to worry.  This is impossible to occur from an event on the San Andreas fault, due to its fault type.

 

There are different types of faults:

Normal Faults occur where the crust is being pulled in opposite directions as the plates move apart from each other. The overlying plate moves down as it is pulled across the lower plate.
Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 6.49.09 PM
Reverse Faults occur where the crust is being pushed together as plates move towards each other.  The overlying plate is moves up as it is pushed over the lower plate.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 6.58.49 PM

Strike-Slip Faults tend to occur along near vertical faults.  The plates move sideways past each other.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 7.04.05 PM

The San Andreas fault is a strike-slip fault.  If it were a normal fault there could be the possibility of California breaking off into the ocean.  However this is not possible with a strike-slip fault.  Because San Francisco and Los Angeles are on opposite sides of the fault, they move towards each other with the plate movement.  In fact, they are moving two inches closer to each other every year, the same rate at which fingernails grow! In millions of years they will be next to eachother.

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