California has It’s Faults~


Lots of ’em too! This is the seismically active Laguna Salada Fault that lies about 50 miles east of The Holler. The ridge line is the uplifted side of the fault with rocks pushed up helter-skelter in a major quake millions of years ago. You are looking through the ridge line of the fault in this photo, into the rift valley below that was also created by this massive quake.


On the other side of the fault ridge line, the mostly empty Anza Borrego desert stretches for 100’s of miles into the horizon. These faults in Southern California are split offs from the huge San Andreas fault and create some amazingly beautiful geography. Just as with people, faults make things much more interesting……


It is estimated that this fault is capable of producing quakes between 6.5- 7.5 magnitude. It is quieter than the mighty San Andreas which is more actively moving to the north.


I love the boulders looking like some giant tossed them around, which is some ways, is exactly what happened.


In addition to earthquakes this area is also prone to wildfires. You can see evidence of the severe one that burned the entire area in 2007. You can also see mother nature at work and the regrowth that has occurred since the fire.


These powerful and potentially destructive faults, create much visual beauty. This formation looks to me like a crouching hawk. Take the Rorschach Rock test. What do you see? (I just added this question after reading comments!)

Cheers to you from Southern California’s many, interesting faults!

228 thoughts on “California has It’s Faults~

  1. Liebe Cindy das sind ja traumhafte Fotos einfach wunderschön da sieht man was die Natur eine kraft hat und so schöne Landschaften entstehen einfach unbegreiflich schön wünsche dir eine gute Nacht mit ganz vielen lieben Grüßen Klaus in Freundschaft

    • Sie sind ein guter Freund und sehr nett Klaus! Die Geographie ist hier sehr anders als in Deutschland. Wir bekommen so wenig regen. Ich warde in Koln und Dusseldorf sehr bald sein! Ich liebe Deutschland! Vielen Dank fur Ihre Freundlichkeit Klaus. <3 <3

      • Cindy – I didn’t know you spoke German, too :-) Funny how we are connecting in unconscious ways…enjoy Germany.
        As beautiful as California is, I think the earthquake potential has always made me a bit nervous. When deciding where to live when I moved to the US, it was between California and the East Coast. The earthquakes made me decide on DC instead. Which didn’t protect me from earthquakes – we had a substantial one a few years ago that was centered here in Virginia. And when I was in Puerto Rico a couple of years ago, I almost fell out of my bed due to an earthquake in the middle of the night!
        Oh, and I see a giant turtle, in case you wonna do a Rorschach eval :-)

      • Sadly I speak German like a challenged kindergardener. But of course this doesn’t stop me from trying! :) Germany is so much fun to visit and see. There is the FOOD, the picturesque rural towns, the flowers and greeness, and the warm welcoming people. My husband would add, the beer!! We visit often but this will be the first visit to Koln. I fully understand your reasoning about where to live. I was born in Caly and my children live here, so that of course is a big influence on why I live and love it here.

  2. It has occured to me that you might be interested in, what I think might be, the broadest Rorschach test of all. That is, the 1967 surreal pyscological action thrller “The Prisoner”. It’s very dated now but incudes the frequently used words “be seeing you”. The other aspect of interest is the film location, Portmeirion in North Wales. Both are well worth a visit. :-) .

    • I watched every episode when I was a kid!! Loved it. Patrick McGwen (sp?) wasn’t it? Wales is a place I really would like to visit and one of the very few places in the UK that I haven’t been.

      • Yes there will be!!! I lived for a summer in Buford in the Cotswolds when I had finished grad school in a very old gardeners cottage on a big estate. It was charming beyond words, ancient banks and banks of roses spilling over the stone walls, a Dutch-door in the cottage, and those step over thing-a-bobs one used to go from field to field. There were many heat waves that summer and England was paradise.

      • PS- I also watched every episode of The Avengers when I was a kid. I wanted to grow up and be Emma Peel AKA Diana Rigg. Actually, I still want to grow up and be Diana Rigg…… ;)

  3. in the case that it’s too boring for you alone bring LM (Lochtfeld Math) with you, he seems to be a bright boy.
    Bring Sandals with you if you intend to play on the sand…

  4. Oh this sounds wonderful! Thank you! I am printing your recommendations!! <3 We will be in Berlin again too which I am looking forward too! Schnitzel and Red Cabbage, German Potato Pancakes! The beautiful Rhine, the cathedrals. The old Bavarian furniture. The green countryside. I love Germany!! <3

  5. I love your photos. They are beautiful. There are so many fault lines. I put an app on my iPad for earthquakes and was shocked how many tiny ones happen every day all over the world. Hugs, Barbara

  6. It is beautiful, that’s for sure. I’ve always wondered how people can live in an area with all those faults — earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, etc. I mean, gosh, all we seem to suffer from are hurricanes! :P Hugs to you and safe wishes! :)

    • Yes, there is more risk here than is normal for most places. I was born here so to me it is home, the wildfires are the most scary to me as we have been evacuated before.

    • Really all year works but optimal would be spring when the wild flowers are blooming everywhere or fall because you drive through apple harvest country. Hope you have a chance to visit. Check out my next post about the place we stay at every year and see if you like it……

  7. Wow! Lovely setting, unusual rock formations, I swear I see a tortoise and the angles really are breath-taking! I left a comment on your lily pads and beautiful and serene setting post. You may wish to edit it, since the computer jumped or scrolled down to the water scenery and my comments belong on this post! Smiles, Robin

  8. Thanks for agreeing that the tools on are abnormal.
    Regards to your friends in D and your fav. Chansonier

  9. Very interesting shots, particularly the third one-like some giant backbone. I was missing your posts, by the way; wondering ‘Where’s Cindy?’ Turns out I had unfollowed you somehow. Not sure how that happened, but I’m back!

  10. Love geology. Striking color contrast between the scrub brush/grass, exposed rocks, and red earth in the valleys. Is The Hollar in CA? I thought that you were in CO. Hmmm. Don’t remember why I decided that.

    On a technical point, I doubt that the valley is a rift valley, but more likely tilted uplifts or a graben, which are common in CA. A rift valley, such as the one in Eastern Africa and Iceland, is the line between two separating Continental or Ocean plates. The west coast of the USA sits on top of a subduction zone, where the ocean plate(s) have or are moving beneath the continental plate. This uplifts and cracks the continental plate in parallel lines, which we see as parallel valleys. A graben, such as the Santa Clara valley, where I grew up, in the downward moving section of land between two faults, in this care the San Andreas to the west and Hayward fault to the east. Okay, forget the technical hoo-ha and enjoy those great views!

  11. Cindy, I don’t know exactly why, but all this time I thought you lived in the Midwest. Funny that.

    Living in the Bay Area during the 1989 quake sure gave us all a brand new respect for the power of earthquakes. Your photos are stunning always, and my goodness you have an amazing group of followers. Good for you.

    • I was supposed to be the the Bay Area speaking at a conference when that quake hit but I had accepted another job, and at the last minute and didn’t have to go. I would have been driving when the quake hit! Not pretty at all~

  12. I was driving in Rancho San Diego last week and thought to myself… I don’t think I am too far from Cindy the WordPress Blogger. She lives down here SOMEWHERE! :-) You have developed a large number of followers since we started following each other’s blogs. Either that or I didn’t notice how many you had a few years ago.

  13. I love your eye for things. My husband is from So Cal so we have been there several times. THis gives me a different perspective on the land. ANd, yes, I definitely see a crouching hawk in the last image. :)

  14. Only because I am a caretaker of them… it looks like a turtle head out of its’ shell.
    Another set of wonderful photos and information.

    Hope you had a great 4th. We had a small BBQ – Sunday though we gather again to celebrate early Little Miss turning one! She actually took her first steps here at Grama’s when Mommy came to collect her and her brother after spending a few hours here. Soooo cool! Before you know it Grampa teased that she’ll be asking for the keys to the car!

    • Congrats on the first step! What joy to experience this all over again. Little children are the most wonderful people in the world! Happy Birthday celebration & hugz too~

  15. Not one of them your photography. Such an interesting gobstopper of a construct, isn’t it, that fault line–I really like the Desolation Road cutting a swath, too. The wildfires aftermath…I dunno whatcher doing with your formatting, but the prose to picture ratio is looking most become-ink…:)

  16. It reminds me of some of those western movies I watched as a kiddy! Looks really wonderful, and also looks very hot too! Were you on a tour, or did you bravely venture out there yourself? And I know what you mean by those rocks that look like they’ve been thrown around – who knows, maybe they have!! ;)

  17. We are in Canberra with a Wi-Fi connection.
    I have enjoyed catching up on your blog.
    I especially liked Vancouver’s Multi Cultural Embrace and the Arts and crafts Retreat is a place I would love to visit, it is no wonder you keep returning.
    The San Diageo wild flowers were really interesting.
    Birds and Congressmen, all great photography, Trust Mark Twain to have a good comment he was a remarkable speaker.
    But I have decided to take the Rorschach Rock Test as I am full faults and cracking up, mostly from laughter, like the rugged landscape.
    I see your hawk I am concerned you should have seen an eagle you are not very patriotic.
    As I am from the Land Down Under I see Cane Toads.
    One is the main body of your eagle and a smaller one the wing, on the far side is the shy one heading back behind the centre one.
    On the side facing them is a triangular one wearing a Bat Man mask, I think he is the leader as there is a whole army of them in the distance.
    They are going to take over Australia all because we foolishly meddled with nature’s balance.
    You may diagnose me as crazy but I am not worried about the Cane Toads or my hallucinations I get a lot of pleasure out of seeing things in nature others miss out on.
    I see so much in your wonderful blog. Thank so much Jo. _/\_ .


    • OF COURSE you are in Canberra! Where else would you be??? You two sit around about as much as Jim and I. I am going to google a Cane Toad right after I post this, have nooooo idea what it looks like. I do feel, in all honesty Jack, you need to work a bit on your imagination. The images you saw in your Rorschach Rock Test were so hum drum, so everyday, so been there, seen that!!! ;) ;) :P
      I missed you my friend and this comment is why. I am still laughing. Tell Pauline to not do anything I wouldn’t do out there in Canberra……. which basically leaves her LOTS of leeway……..
      Be well my friends and wonderful to hear from you~

  18. Interesting post Cindy, awesome scenery but oh so unstable. I think it must be quite scary to live with the threat of a quake always threatening. Have you ever experienced a big one at the Hollar? I see a turtle straining up over the precipice.

    • No surprise that I see stuff in the rock that no one else does!!!! This is typical for me. Laughing…..We’ve had lots of moderate quakes in the area but not the big one that will come at some point. I was born in SoCal and have lived here for 57 years and anticipation of “The Big One,” is part of my permanent psyche~

  19. ein toller Post, Cindy ! Chapeau ! Deine faszinierenden Bilder erfreuen mich sehr. Hab vielen Dank und eine schöne Zeit. Ernst

    a great post, Cindy! Chapeau! Your fascinating images please me very much. Have many thanks and a good time. Ernst

  20. Gorgeous photos, Cindy, and quite a scary prospect to have an earthquake. Here in New England we have minor quakes but have had some bigger ones but nothing like California.

  21. They may be faults but they are certainly beautiful. The landscape is incredible. I’m definitely seeing a turtle but it looks a big grumpy to me! :)

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