Painted Canyon Fault

January 09, 2006


Provided and copyright by: David Lynch, Thule Scientific
Summary authors & editors: David Lynch

The Painted Canyon Fault in the Mecca Hills of Riverside County, California is clearly evident as a diagonal interface between two different rock types. The colors of the rocks at left are due mostly to fault gouge, rock that has been pulverized and heated by friction during motion along the fault. Note the truck in the bushes for scale. The Mecca Hills are deeply-eroded sedimentary badlands north of the Salton Sea, bounded on the west by the San Andreas Fault. Several parallel faults split the region including the Painted Canyon, Skeleton Canyon and Hidden Springs Faults. The original sediments were primarily lake and Colorado River deposits, later covered with alluvium as the uplifting hills eroded. During their elevation, the sediments were steeply tilted resulting in many dramatic arches and folds. Painted Canyon is a narrow, stream-cut gorge in the Mecca Hills that can be reached by a dirt road. It's part of the Mecca Hills County Park.

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