Strike Slip Fault

A strike slip fault is a fault zone where two blocks of land move horizontally rather than vertically along a fault plane. These faults can form between two small blocks of land or crustal plates. They also sometimes develop within a continental plate. The Alpine Fault in New Zealand is an example of this type of tectonic plate movement.

Mission San Juan Bautista sits on boundary of San Andreas Fault. Photo by Myrna Martin
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Mission San Juan Bautista
Mission San Juan Bautista sits on the San Andreas Fault. The fault is the boundary between the Pacific Plate on the left side of the picture. The North American Plate can be seen on the right side where the land drops down into the valley. The mission has been damaged several times since it was built by earthquakes that occurred on the fault.  Myrna Martin

San Andreas Fault boundary
A transform boundary is a type of strike-slip fault that occurs between crustal plates. The San Andreas Fault is the most famous transform fault. It starts in the south at the East Pacific Rise. The East Pacific Rise is a spreading center in the Pacific Ocean.

Length of the transform boundary
The transform boundary runs northward two-thirds of the way through California to the Mendocino Triangle. The Mendocino Triangle is a triple junction of three plates: Pacific Plate, North American Plate, and the Juan de Fuca Plate (Blanco Plate).

Right-lateral strike-slip fault
If you look across a fault zone and it looks like the rivers and valley on the other side have moved horizontally to the right the fault is a right-lateral strike-slip fault.

Left-lateral strike-slip fault
If the land moves to the left it is a left-lateral strike slip fault. Faults that have a small up or downward motion as they move horizontally are oblique-slip faults.

More Pacific Ring of Fire Links

Subduction Zones Find out why the Pacific Ring of Fire has so many subduction zones. 

Aleutian Trench Learn more about this long trench which parallels the Aleutian Islands.

Tectonic Plate Movement Find out about tectonic plate movement and how it relates to the Theory of Plate Tectonics

Redoubt Volcano Learn more about redoubt volcano located on the Cook Inlet of Alaska.


Volcanic Arcs Find out how and where volcanic arcs form on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Strike Slip Fault Learn more about these faults that are boundaries between crustal plates including the San Andreas Fault.

Pacific Ring of Fire Learn more about the Ring of Fire which is home to towering volcanoes and great earthquakes.

Kids Fun Science The links on our home page include information about volcanoes, science activities, plate tectonics, the rock cycle and much more.

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