MARTIN BOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTIN BOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
San Andreas fault. Folded rock strata in the cliff face of a road that crosses the San Andreas seismic fault in California, USA. The rock strata have been twisted and folded by tectonic forces. The fault marks the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. The fault is a source of earthquakes because these plates are moving relative to each other. Friction between the rocks on each side of the fault can temporarily prevent local movement. The stress at the fault increases until the friction is overcome and there is a sudden movement of ground which causes an earthquake. Photographed on Highway 14 near Palmdale, California.
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