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Tectonic plate boundaries and other local marvels

You don't need to be around majestic mountains to talk earth science. Geologic activity is evident in The Almanac's circulation area.

The San Andreas Fault, where the Pacific tectonic plate slides past the North American plate, happens to run through Portola Valley and Woodside.

One piece of evidence: A "sag" pond — a pool that forms along fault lines — lying just above The Sequoias retirement community at 501 Portola Road, says Mary Leech, a Woodside resident and an assistant professor of geology at San Francisco State University.

Portola Valley resident and geologist Sheldon Breiner reports another possible sag pond near Buck Meadow Drive, where there is also a bronze plaque on the fault itself — on the side of the road about 600 feet north of Red Berry Ridge.

On a section of Roberta Drive in Woodside, the USGS has driven nails into the road to monitor ground creep along the San Andreas, Mr. Breiner says.

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On walks along Still Creek Road in Woodside, Ms. Leech says she's smelled sulfur near the inactive Pilarcitos Fault, implying that the water in a nearby creek once passed beneath the Earth's crust.

"You just don't go on vacations anymore once you're a geologist," she says. "You're always a geologist."

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Tectonic plate boundaries and other local marvels

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Sun, Mar 1, 2009, 11:35 pm

You don't need to be around majestic mountains to talk earth science. Geologic activity is evident in The Almanac's circulation area.

The San Andreas Fault, where the Pacific tectonic plate slides past the North American plate, happens to run through Portola Valley and Woodside.

One piece of evidence: A "sag" pond — a pool that forms along fault lines — lying just above The Sequoias retirement community at 501 Portola Road, says Mary Leech, a Woodside resident and an assistant professor of geology at San Francisco State University.

Portola Valley resident and geologist Sheldon Breiner reports another possible sag pond near Buck Meadow Drive, where there is also a bronze plaque on the fault itself — on the side of the road about 600 feet north of Red Berry Ridge.

On a section of Roberta Drive in Woodside, the USGS has driven nails into the road to monitor ground creep along the San Andreas, Mr. Breiner says.

On walks along Still Creek Road in Woodside, Ms. Leech says she's smelled sulfur near the inactive Pilarcitos Fault, implying that the water in a nearby creek once passed beneath the Earth's crust.

"You just don't go on vacations anymore once you're a geologist," she says. "You're always a geologist."

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