The San Andreas fault is viewed, according to the concepts of seafloor spreading and plate tectonics, as a transform fault that separates the Pacific and North American plates and along which relative movements of 2 to 6 cm/year have been taking place. The resulting strain can be released by creep, by earthquakes of moderate size, or (as near San Francisco and Los Angeles) by great earthquakes. Microearthquakes, as mapped by a dense seismograph network in central California, generally coincide with zones of the San Andreas fault system that are creeping. Microearthquakes are few and scattered in zones where elastic energy is being stored. Changes in the rate of strain, as recorded by tiltmeter arrays, have been observed before several earthquakes of about magnitude 4. Changes in fluid pressure may control timing of seismic activity and make it possible to control natural earthquakes by controlling variations in fluid pressure in fault zones. An experiment in earthquake control is underway at the Rangely oil field in Colorado, where the rates of fluid injection and withdrawal in experimental wells are being controlled. ?? 1972.