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Recent data from the San Andreas fault show that episodes of rapid creep may either precede or follow the occurrence of local earthquakes. Both fault creep and earthquakes are processes that act to relieve tectonic stress. The factors that determine which process will be effective at a particular time and place depend in detail on the properties of the fault surface. These properties may include the coefficient of friction, the geometry, and the fluid pore pressure. Examples of both types of stress release can be seen on the San Andreas fault.