Searching for Faults

When I unexpectedly and quite surprisingly found myself a few miles from the San Andreas Fault, I was at first appalled and then fascinated. Such a mythical place! Who hasn’t heard the warnings of “the big one” and the quite erroneous assertion that when it hits, Arizona will become beachfront property?

I have plenty of faults of my own, so I don’t  need to go searching for personal faults, but I did go in search of the myth. As I mentioned yesterday, there is no giant crack in the earth, and in many places there is no indication at all of the fault line. Erosion, bulldozers, plows, and buildings have all helped to eradicate any “line.”

Still, there are signs. This “lake” (more of a pond, really) is actually a fault sag, a place where the land sank as a result of earth movement along the fault. Water is collected in the lake from rain, snow melt, and underground springs.

Somewhere down in these narrow gorges is the fault line. Supposedly it is visible as it dips south and west, though I couldn’t see whatever it was I was supposed to see.

I could see better indication of the fault line here, because it is marked by the red sedimentary rock. The gray schist is the local rock, but fault action shifted the red rocks to their present location.

This search was an incredible journey, and as you can see, a beautiful one. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our personal faults were as hard to find as this geographical fault and as colorful and dramatic when we did catch a glimpse of them?


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

4 Responses to “Searching for Faults”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    You can use this to say, “Faults don’t detract from us. Rather, they make us better.” Most of the time, anyway.

  2. Carol Wuenschell Says:

    I’ve been to places along the San Andreas, too. Sometimes it’s just a hillside, others a more obvious discontinuity. I like your pictures.

  3. The Gift is in the Preparation | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] still remember seeing this sign and taking the photo when I was on a different outing (to find the San Andreas Fault). I was so excited to see evidence of this mythical trail that I walked up the path a bit, but then […]

  4. Why Do You Want to Do This? | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] one day, I went on a search for the San Andreas Fault, and came across a marker for the Pacific Crest […]

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