The San Francisco Peninsula is a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area that separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. On its northern tip is the City and County of San Francisco. Its southern base is in northern Santa Clara County, including the cities of Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos. Most of the Peninsula is occupied by San Mateo County, between San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, and including the cities and towns of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, El Granada, Foster City, Hillsborough, Half Moon Bay, La Honda, Loma Mar, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Sunnyvale, and Woodside.
The San Andreas Fault is a continental transform fault that extends roughly 1,200 kilometers (750 mi) through California. It forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, and its motion is right-lateral strike-slip (horizontal). The fault divides into three segments, each with different characteristics and a different degree of earthquake risk. The slip rate along the fault ranges from 20 to 35 mm /yr. It was formed by a transform boundary.
State Route 1 (SR 1) is a major north–south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California. At a total of just over 656 miles (1,056 km), it is the longest state route in California. SR 1 has several portions designated as either Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Cabrillo Highway, Shoreline Highway, or Coast Highway. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 5 (I-5) near Dana Point in Orange County and its northern terminus is at U.S. Route 101 (US 101) near Leggett in Mendocino County. SR 1 also at times runs concurrently with US 101, most notably through a 54-mile (87 km) stretch in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and across the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Mateo County, officially the County of San Mateo, is a county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 718,451. The county seat is Redwood City. San Mateo County is included in the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA MSA, Silicon Valley, and is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, the nine counties bordering San Francisco Bay. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula. San Francisco International Airport is located at the northern end of the county. The county's built-up areas are mostly suburban with some areas being very urban, and are home to several corporate campuses.
Colma is a small incorporated town in San Mateo County, California, on the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 1,792 at the 2010 census. The town was founded as a necropolis in 1924.
Daly City is the most populous city in San Mateo County, California, United States, with an estimated 2019 population of 106,280. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and immediately south of San Francisco, it is named for businessman and landowner John Donald Daly.
The Transverse Ranges are a group of mountain ranges of southern California, in the Pacific Coast Ranges physiographic region in North America. The Transverse Ranges begin at the southern end of the California Coast Ranges and lie within Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Kern counties. The Peninsular Ranges lie to the south. The name Transverse Ranges is due to their east–west orientation, making them transverse to the general northwest–southeast orientation of most of California's coastal mountains.
The Santa Lucia Mountains or Santa Lucia Range is a rugged mountain range in coastal central California, running from Carmel southeast for 140 miles (230 km) to the Cuyama River in San Luis Obispo County. The range is never more than 11 miles (18 km) from the coast. The range forms the steepest coastal slope in the contiguous United States. Cone Peak at 5,158 feet (1,572 m) tall and three miles (5 km) from the coast, is the highest peak in proximity to the ocean in the lower 48 United States. The range was a barrier to exploring the coast of central California for early Spanish explorers.
Goat Rock Beach is a sand beach in northwestern Sonoma County, California, United States. This landform is a sub-unit of Sonoma Coast State Beach, owned and managed by the State of California. At the northern terminus of Goat Rock Beach is the mouth of the Russian River, and the southern end of this crescent shaped expanse is the massive Goat Rock, an iconic outcrop of the Sonoma Coast, which is barely attached to the mainland by a narrow isthmus.
San Bruno Mountain is located in northern San Mateo County, California, with some slopes of the mountain crossing over into southern San Francisco. Most of the mountain lies within the 2,326-acre (941 ha) San Bruno Mountain State Park. Next to the state park is the 83-acre (34 ha) state San Bruno Mountain Ecological Reserve on the north slope. It is near the southern boundary of San Francisco, surrounded by the cities of South San Francisco, Daly City, Colma, and Brisbane.
Seal Rock is a group of small rock formation islands in the Lands End area of the Outer Richmond District in western San Francisco, California. They are located just offshore in the Pacific Ocean, at the north end of the Ocean Beach, near the Cliff House and Sutro Baths ruins.
Rockaway Beach is a shoreline area of the Pacific Ocean in the southern portion of Pacifica, California, United States, approximately 7 miles (11 km) south of the city of San Francisco. It is located within a gently curving embayment with direct access via Rockaway Beach Avenue and providing easy access to Highway 1.
The Newport–Inglewood Fault is a right-lateral strike-slip fault in Southern California. The fault extends for 47 mi (76 km) from Culver City southeast through Inglewood and other coastal communities to Newport Beach at which point the fault extends east-southeast into the Pacific Ocean where it is known as the Rose Canyon Fault. The fault can be inferred on the Earth's surface as passing along and through a line of hills extending from Signal Hill to Culver City. The fault has a slip rate of approximately 0.6 mm (0.024 in)/year and is predicted to be capable of a 6.0–7.4 magnitude earthquake on the moment magnitude scale. A 2017 study concluded that, together, the Newport–Inglewood Fault and Rose Canyon Fault could produce an earthquake of 7.3 or 7.4 magnitude.
The Franciscan Complex or Franciscan Assemblage is a geologic term for a late Mesozoic terrane of heterogeneous rocks found throughout the California Coast Ranges, and particularly on the San Francisco Peninsula. It was named by geologist Andrew Lawson, who also named the San Andreas fault that defines the western extent of the assemblage.
Montara State Beach is a beach located in the coastal region of California eight miles north of Half Moon Bay on State Route 1 in California, USA. It is operated by the California State Department of Parks and Recreation under the San Mateo Coast Sector Office. It is one of the cleanest beaches in the state and is known for surfing and fishing.
Sonoma Coast State Park is a State of California property in Sonoma County consisting of public access use on lands adjoining the Pacific Ocean. This extent of beach runs from a coastal point about 4 miles (6 km) north of Jenner and continues for approximately 17 miles (27 km) to the south to terminate at Bodega Head. The property lies along State Route 1 and consists of a number of named beaches including Arched Rock Beach, Gleason Beach and Goat Rock Beach. The ecosystem consists of alternating sandy beaches and rocky shoreline, with a marine terrace extending above the entire extent with an upland California coastal prairie habitat.
The Serra Fault is the northernmost fault in a zone of northwest-striking range front thrust faults adjacent to and northeast of the San Francisco Peninsula segment of the San Andreas Fault, in eastern San Mateo County, California.
The Jalama Formation is a sedimentary rock formation widespread in southern Santa Barbara County and northern Ventura County, southern California. Of the Late Cretaceous epoch, the unit consists predominantly of clay shale with some beds of sandstone.
The Merced Formation is a geologic formation in California, and also in Oregon and Washington state. It is named for Lake Merced, a natural lake on the western San Francisco coastline.
The geology of California is highly complex, with numerous mountain ranges, substantial faulting and tectonic activity, rich natural resources and a history of both ancient and comparatively recent intense geological activity. The area formed as a series of small island arcs, deep-ocean sediments and mafic oceanic crust accreted to the western edge of North America, producing a series of deep basins and high mountain ranges.