What's Oil Doing in Signal Hill, Long Beach, California?

It takes complicated geology to give you oil - and California has plenty of both. Southern California routinely suffers through earthquakes, an indication that strong geologic forces are currently at work in this part of the world. The San Andreas Fault stretches for hundreds of kilometers along the California coast, a result of pieces of the earth's crust sliding past one another. But these sections of crust (known as "plates") weren't always sliding past one another.

Several millions of years ago, these plates were involved in a head-on collision. This collision caused the rocks to fold, bend and break. As we'll see in a moment, folded, bent and broken rocks often are the best places to look for lots of oil

At left: A simplified diagram of some of the major oilfields in Southern California. The red lines indicate where there are faults. It's no coincidence that the faults line up with many of the large oil fields. As a matter of fact, in some cases, the faults are the REASON there are oil fields here.

...continue learning about the geology of Signal Hill

click here to learn about the history of oil at Signal Hill

The Paleontological Research Institution
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY 14850 phone: 607-273-6623 fax: 607-273-6620
Questions about the Website? Tell us!