Virtual Guidebook to El Camino Real
Parkfield
on the San Andreas Fault in eastern Monterey County California


Parkfield is about as small as towns get, but it has its own special claim to fame. It logs more earthquakes than anywhere else in California, mostly smaller than can be felt, but with a good rattle every few years.

Because of this seismic activity geologists and seismologists have been drawn here for many years. Tremendous numbers and types of sensors have been installed along the rift zone north and south of Parkfield, studying the ongoing activity and waiting confidently for the next big one. A sign on the water tank in the middle of town suggests "Be here when it happens".



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Looking north over the Varian Ranch from the Parkfield Grade Road. This area is popular with mountain bikers, and known for fleeting spring wildflower displays.

(March 28, 2009)


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"Be Here When It Happens" is the slogan for this town, located on a very active stretch of the San Andreas Fault. Many of the customers at local businesses are scientists studying the fault.

(March 28, 2009)


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This fountain outside the Parkfield Cafe was built from rusty old mining equipment.

(March 28, 2009)


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The Parkfield Inn, popular with seismologists studying the dynamics of the San Andreas Fault. Hundreds of small earthquakes are detected every year, and a few larger ones at semi-regular intervals.

(March 28, 2009)


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Curious cows wandered over to look at me when I drove down this back road near the Parkfield cemetery.

(March 28, 2009)


Next Locality: San Andreas Rift in San Luis Obispo County