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Oblique aerial photograph of the trace of a fault on the desert floor

Oblique aerial photograph of the trace of a fault on the desert floor of southern California; view looking east at the Coachella Valley trace of the Banning Fault in the northern Coachella Valley. The linear trace on the desert floor occurs where a fault plane that is vertical in the subsurface intersects the land surface. Thus, a cross-sectional view of a fault in a road cut expresses translates into a trace on the ground surface when viewed from above in this photograph. The linear is formed by scarps (topographic expression of fault movement), by vegetation concentrated along the fault trace where ground-water ponds up-slope from the fault, and by sand dunes that form where wind-blown sand is trapped by the vegetation. Photo by J.C. Matti, USGS, December, 1979.

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