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Fontana (pronounced /fɒnˈtænə/) is a city in San Bernardino County, California, United States. Located in the heart of the Inland Empire region of southern California, the City of Fontana is a fast-growing community known for its new local landmarks. Originally a rural town known for an abundance of chicken ranches, hog farms, and citrus and walnut orchards, over the past century Fontana has developed rapidly into a major commuter suburb for Los Angeles and other nearby cities, as well as a strategic regional hub of the trucking industry. This is arguably the result of Fontana's location at the meetingplace of several major regional thoroughfares: Interstate 10 and State Route 210 both transect the city from east to west, and Interstate 15 passes diagonally through the northwestern part of the city. These major highways have given rise to dozens of distribution centers in the city's industrial areas, where goods are brought by road and rail from the seaports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, then shipped throughout North America.
While Fontana is within driving distance of several of the mountain resorts, beaches, lakes and desert areas of Southern California, the city is also becoming a destination in its own right. It is home to several newly built landmarks, such as the largest of the San Bernardino County system libraries, a renovated historic theater, a huge new municipal park, and the Auto Club Speedway, a NASCAR racetrack located on the former site of the historic Kaiser Steel Mill. Fontana is also home to the Fontana Days Half Marathon and 5K run. This race is on record as the fastest half marathon course in the world.
The U.S. federal Census estimates for 2006 placed Fontana's population at 170,099, but the California State Department of Finance estimated the fast-growing city's 2010 population at 190,356. This growth was primarily the result of the city's campaign to annex numerous unincorporated San Bernardino County "island" areas within its Sphere of Influence, as well as with continued suburban construction growth.
Most of the city of Fontana, like its eastern neighbors Rialto and San Bernardino, is built atop a geologically young, gently southward-sloping alluvial fan from nearby Lytle Creek, deposited mainly during the Holocene and late-Pleistocene epochs. There are also sedimentary deposits of similar age from Etiwanda Creek on the western edge of the city. However, the northern and southern edges of the city are formed by the much older San Gabriel and Jurupa mountain ranges, respectively. The Jurupa Mountains are composed primarily of Cretaceous and Paleozoic-era rocks, as are the San Gabriels, which also include even older, Proterozoic formations. The most prominent of the San Gabriel Mountains visible from Fontana is Cucamonga Peak, elevation 8,859 feet (2,700m). Additionally, the Cucamonga Fault Zone, contiguous with the Sierra Madre Fault Zone, runs through the northern part of the city, along the base of the San Gabriels, notably through the Hunter's Ridge and Coyote Canyon planned communities. It is estimated to be capable of producing earthquakes approximately of Magnitudes 6.0 to 7.0.
The city's listed elevation, measured from the northeast corner of the intersection of Upland Avenue and Sierra Avenue, downtown by City Hall, is 1,237 feet (377 m). However, the highest elevation within the city limits is approximately 2,600 feet (792.48m), in the northernmost part of the Panorama neighborhood of Hunter's Ridge. The lowest point within the city limits is approximately 840 feet (256.03m), at the intersection of Etiwanda and Philadelphia avenues, the extreme southwestern corner of the city. This difference in elevation is due to the southward slope of the Lytle Creek alluvial fan.