“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near McKittrick in San Luis Obispo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Wallace Creek

San Andreas Fault

Wallace Creek Marker image. Click for full size.
1. Wallace Creek Marker
Click on photo to view detail.
Inscription.  Welcome to Wallace Creek. Yes, you are looking at a creek. Wallace Creek may seem insignificant compared to other streams or rivers, after all, on most days of the year, it is bone dry. But it tells an important and exciting story.

As you can see, there are two sharp bends in the channel. The San Andreas fault also crosses Wallace Creek near those bends. Could the two tight bends be related to the fault?

The San Andreas fault cuts across the surface of the Earth in front of you, from the northwest (your left) to the southeast (your right). Everything on the far side of the fault is sliding slowly to your right.

Wallace Creek once flowed straight across the fault. There were no bends. But repeated motion along the fault, due to large earthquakes every few hundred years, caused the upstream half of the channel to slide away from its downstream half.

The irregular shape of Wallace Creek reveals that the ground has moved here in the past, and warns that earthquakes will occur again in the future.
Erected by Carrizo Plain National Monument.
Topics. This historical
Wallace Creek Marker image. Click for full size.
2. Wallace Creek Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
marker is listed in this topic list: Natural Features.
Location. 35° 16.265′ N, 119° 49.628′ W. Marker is near McKittrick, California, in San Luis Obispo County. Marker can be reached from Elkhorn Road, 4˝ miles south of California Route 58. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Santa Margarita CA 93453, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Soda Lake (approx. 4.8 miles away); Painted Rock (approx. 8.4 miles away); McKittrick Brea Pit (approx. 11˝ miles away); McKittrick Hotel and Penny Bar (approx. 11.7 miles away); Buena Vista Refinery (approx. 12.7 miles away).
More about this marker. Elkhorn Road is a dirt road and could be closed after a rain storm. Marker is a short hike from the parking lot. Located within the Carrizo Plain National Monument.
Also see . . .  Trail Guide to Wallace Creek. (Submitted on July 8, 2018.)
Creek Offset image. Click for full size.
3. Creek Offset
The stream flows from right to left across the bottom of the photo, then turns right and flows from bottom to top of photo, then turns left into the original channel. An offset of 420 feet over 3,800 years.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 26, 2018. It was originally submitted on July 8, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 129 times since then and 6 times this year. Last updated on November 21, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 8, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 20, 2021