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McCandless describes what he is looking for on his odyssey, particularly on the Alaska trip, as “ultimate freedom.” It would seem that this largely represents, to him, freedom from other people’s rules and authority over him. Throughout his whole life he finds authority particularly oppressive, especially when exercised by anyone who he feels only has such power over him for arbitrary reasons. To live completely alone, in a world where the only laws he feels the need to follow are those of nature, is to him ultimate freedom.
Yet this level of freedom requires total isolation, for to be with others means to have obligations to them. Thus, McCandless’s quest for freedom becomes, also, a refutation of any and all intimacy with others. This kind of freedom is inherently selfish.
The San Andreas Fault is the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. It slices
California in two sections from Cape Mendocino to the Mexican border. San Diego, Los Angeles and Big Sur
are on the Pacific Plate, while San Francisco, Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada are on the North American
Plate. Despite San Francisco’s legendary 1906 earthquake, the San Andreas Fault does not go through the
city, however communities like Desert Hot Springs, San Bernardino, Wrightwood, Palmdale, and Bodega Bay
lie squarely on the fault and are sitting ducks.
The plates are slowly moving at a couple of inches a year, which is about the same rate that your fingernails
grow. This is not a steady motion, it is the average motion. For years the plates will be locked with no
movement at all. Suddenly the built-up strain breaks the rock along the fault and the plates slip a few feet all at
once. The breaking rock sends out waves in all directions and it is the waves that we feel as earthquakes.
In many places like the Carrizo Plain (San Luis Obispo County) and the Olema Trough (Marin County), the
fault is easy to see as a series of scarps and pressure ridges. In other places, it is more subtle because the
fault hasn’t moved in many years and is covered with alluvium, or overgrown with brush. In San Bernardino
and Los Angeles Counties, many of the roads along the fault cut through great mountains of gouge, the
powdery, crumbled rock that has been pulverized by the moving plates.
The hallmark of the San Andreas Fault is the different rocks on either side of it. Being about 28 million years
old, rock from great distances have been juxtaposed against rocks from very different locations and origins.
The Salinian block of granite in central and northern California originated in Southern California, and some
even say northern Mexico.
Can you shorten it 3-5 sentaces?