Whose Fault Was It?

GEOGRAPHY

The magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck California’s Napa Valley north of San Francisco on Sunday morning—collapsing older buildings, sparking fires and causing scores of injuries—fell along a series of cracks in the Earth tied to the famed and feared San Andreas Fault. (National Geographic News)

Take a look at this map to see the web of faults beneath the San Francisco Bay Area.

(For a full summary of the South Napa Quake, download this typically terrific poster from the good folks at the USGS.)

The densely populated San Francisco Bay Area is bracketed by two major fault zones: the San Andreas and the Hayward.

The densely populated San Francisco Bay Area is bracketed by two major fault zones: the San Andreas and the Hayward. Map courtesy USGS

Discussion Ideas

  • The so-called “South Napa Quake” had its epicenter near Browns Valley California. (The quake was named for the county in which Browns Valley is located, Napa.) Use our MapMaker Interactive to identify the region and mark it using the drawing tools on the left-hand side. Here is a map of the Bay Area to get you started.
    • Zoom in on the town of Napa, just north of the giant San Francisco Bay. Browns Valley is just west of Napa.

 

 

  • Take a look at the USGS map of faults slicing through the San Francisco Bay Area. (Either above or on our website here.) Using the Wikimedia map above, see how many faults you can label.
    • If nothing else, you should be able to clearly identify the area’s two major fault regions: the Hayward fault zone, to the east of the bay, and the mighty San Andreas, to the west.

Current Event Connection is back from summer hiatus! Hurrah!

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