The San Andreas Fault is the most famous fault on Earth, running nearly the entire length of western California from just north of the Mexican border to the Mendocino coast. It is a very active tectonic boundary which directly affects the lives of more than twenty million people. The San Andreas Fault has been responsible for shaping much that is beautiful about California, and it also has the capacity to destroy the communities that lie along its course. A Land in Motion provides a geologic tour of the San Andreas Fault in an accessible narrative punctuated with dramatic color illustrations, lively anecdotes, and authoritative information about earthquakes.
As he tours the length of the fault, Michael Collier provides a valuable overview of plate tectonics and gives a geologic history of the San Andreas Fault written for non-scientists. He discusses the evolution of seismology as a science and traces the knowledge that scientists have gleaned about earthquakes and plate tectonics from their work on the San Andreas Fault. Collier looks into human history as well, discussing major earthquakes that have hit the San Andreas, including the famous San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the San Fernando quake of 1971, the Loma Prieta quake of 1989, the Landers quake of 1992, and many lesser temblors.
Collier illustrates his text with magnificent photographs that highlight some of the most beloved landscapes in California. He provides excellent views of the fault throughout the state—of Crystal Springs reservoir near San Francisco, of Pinnacles National Monument east of Monterey, of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco, and more.
Collier concludes his tour of the San Andreas Fault with a provocative discussion on earthquake prediction versus earthquake planning that all Californians—and all who live where earthquakes occur—will want to read.
Michael Collier is a freelance writer and photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he is also a family-practice physician. He has contributed photographs and essays to numerous publications including National Geographic Traveler, Sunset, and Pacific Discovery. Among his previous books are Water, Earth, and Sky: The Colorado River Basin (1999), Arizona: A View from Above (1990), and The Geology of Death Valley (1990).