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This EarthWord isn’t a new dance-move; it’s been around since we’ve had tectonic plates...

EarthWords is an on-going series in which we shed some light on the complicated, often difficult-to-pronounce language of science. Think of us as your terminology tour-guides, and meet us back here every week for a new word!

Image shows an aerial view of the San Andreas Fault
Aerial photo of the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain. By Ikluft - Own work, GFDL, domain.)

The EarthWord: Strike-Slip Fault


  • It isn’t a new dance-move, but if it were, it’d be called the tectonic slide, because a strike-slip fault is where the two rock formations move mostly horizontally.

Use/Significance in the Earth Science Community:

  • Faults behave in different ways: some slip down, other thrust up, some slide side-to-side, and each of these produce different magnitudes of earthquakes. Understanding how various faults behave helps us understand what kinds of seismic hazard exist.


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