Wednesday, February 17, 2016

San Andreas Fault In The Coachella Valley Preserve

From Outdoor Resort Palm Springs, Cathedral City, California     Let's face it; we all want to get an "up close" view of the mysteriously scary San Andreas fault line -- just not when "the big one" hits.  On Tuesday, Pam, Ernie, Wayne and I went to get a personal and first hand look.

Our drive to see the fault

As it turned out, our ride was short -- less than 9 miles from Outdoor Resort in Cathedral City. We were surprised to see several huge stands of fan palms in the desert as we approached the sign pointing to our destination, 100o Palms Canyon Oasis in the Coachella Valley Preserve. This is a unique area that protects all natural features including sand dunes, mesas and palm oases. It is one of the largest groves of Desert palm fans in California.

The daytime high here today would be in the upper 80's; plenty hot to be in the desert, but we don't expect our San Andreas fault line sighting to take long enough for us to become overcome by heat exhaustion or sun stroke.

My comrades prepare themselves what we're about to see.
I take the pictures and let them tell me about it. 

According to the material on the board, "Palm oases are sustained primarily by water made available through faulting and fracturing of the underlying bedrock material. Blow-sand fields are created when sand, washed out of nearby mountains during summer floods, is deposited, forming a broad alluvial fan. Strong winds pick up the sand and blow it into sand dune formations which are home to several rare animals. One hundred, eighty animals species inhabit the preserve, including resident and migratory birds. Five rare animals, the Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard, the Flat-tailed Horned Lizard, the Coachella Round-tailed Ground Squirrel, the Giant Red Velvet Mite and the Giant Palm-boring Beetle, live in the preserve."

The Wayner and me (with a bottle of water in my pocket)
ready to march right into the giant jaws of the great San Andreas! 
This oasis was so inviting from the dry desert all around. The giant fan palms create great shady areas and they seem to draw you into the shade and cool.

There's a tiny visitors center for 1000 Palms Canyon in a house that was, at one time, a personal residence.

There goes Ernie into the Visitors Center for all the information we're going to need. 
Pam and I busied ourselves positioning the husbands and taking pictures of anything we deemed "photo worthy" -- like the directional sign below. Very important. How many of our friends have this picture?

Still with the bottle of water weighing heavily in my shorts pocket. 
So after proper study at the Visitors Center we started down one side of the loop trail into the fault. The following pictures tell the rest of the story...

Factoid:  The San Andreas fault is created by moving tectonic plates beneath the earth's surface. It stretches 1,000 miles across California, the most heavily populated state in America. San Andreas is a "strike-slip" fault and separates the large Pacific Plate with the large North American Plate. It has caused some of the largest earthquakes in the western United States.

Water springs from the fault, making the oasis in which the great palms grow! 

Pools of water on both sides of the walkway! 

We went just a short distance along the short 2.4 mile loop and then turned around after seeing what we wanted to see -- didn't even break a sweat.

Upon return to the Visitors Center area, the husbands collapsed into the nearest park bench.

Ernie             and             Wayne 

I am happy to report that our fearless group of fault line explorers showed no signs of weakness during our exploration of this dangerous and terrifying area.  However, according to a report by UMass Amherst, "The Coachella Valley segment of the San Andreas Fault has a high likelihood for a large rupture in the near future, since it has a recurrence interval of about 180 years but has not erupted in over 300 years."    Yikes! It's way overdue!

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