National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Earth's San Andreas Fault
Earth's San Andreas Fault (click to enlarge)

Earth's San Andreas Fault
Date: 11 Feb 2000

The Earth's surface is broken. Cracks in the Earth's crust known as faults can run for hundreds of kilometers. These faults are frequently the sites of major earthquakes as the tectonic plates that cover the surface of the Earth shift. Pictured above is San Andreas Fault in California, one of the longest and most active faults. Visible as the linear feature to the right of the mountains, San Andreas Fault reaches 15 kilometers deep and is about 20 million years old. The above exaggerated-height image was created by combining radar deployed by the Space Shuttle Endeavour in February 2000 with a true-color Landsat picture. Along San Andreas Fault, the titanic Pacific Plate is shifting relative to the huge North American Plate by an average of a few centimeters per year. At that rate, in a few million years, the Earth's surface will look quite different than it does today.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2008