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San Andreas Fault

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Home of the potential Big One! The San Andreas Fault is an 810-mile (1,300-kilometer) long continental transform fault located in California, which forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and the North American tectonic plates. The fault is most famous for having reached a sufficient stress level for what is commonly referred to the next "big one," a 7.0+ magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale. Both the public and the scientific community continue to speculate on the size and date of the next earthquake, and most importantly the potentially catastrophic damages caused by it, considering that California is the densest state in the United States. However, scientists have concluded that quakes on the Cascadia subduction zone, which stretches just a little further up north from Vancouver Island to northern California, may have triggered most of the major quakes on the fault within the past 3,000 years – including the disastrous 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

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