Structural Geology

Structural Geology
Tectonic collision deforms crustal rocks producing geologic structures.
Folds Faults Joints and Fractures

All changes in the original location, orientation or form of a crustal rock body. Deformation common at plate margins. Deformation concepts«
Force Stress Strain

Force ± Mass x acceleration (F = ma) The action that puts stationary objects in motion or Changes the motion of moving objects.

Stress - Force applied to a given area. Determines the concentration of force. Differential Stress ± Unequal in different directions. 3 major types of differential stress
Compressional stress Tensional stress Shear stress

. Associated with orogenesis (mtn.Compressional Stress ³Push-together´ stress. Shortens and thickens crust. building).

Tensional Stress ³Pull-apart´ stress. Stephen Marshak . Thins and stretches crust. Associated with rifting.

shear is often accommodated by bedding planes. .Shear Stress Slippage of one rock mass past another. In shallow crust.


flowing.Strain Changes in the shape or size of a rock body caused by stress. . Strain occurs when stresses exceed rock strength. or fracturing. Strained rocks deform by folding.

Stephen Marshak . ductile in the deeper crust.How Rocks Deform Elastic deformation ± The rock returns to original size and shape when stress removed. When the (strength) of a rock is surpassed. Brittle behavior occurs in the shallow crust. it either flows (ductile deformation) or fractures (brittle deformation).

. Time ± Stress applied for a long time generates change. Temperature and confining pressure Low T and P = brittle deformation High T and P = ductile deformation Rock type ± Mineral composition controls strength.How Rocks Deform Factors controlling rock strength and deformation style.

Mapping is aided by advances in aerial photography. Structure usually determined from a limited number of outcrops. FIELD WORK !! . satellite imagery and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The most common and useful technique for geological mapping remains«.Mapping Geologic Structures Geologists describe and interpret rock structures.


The Formation A mappable rock unit. .

Mapping Geologic Structures Describing and mapping the orientation of a geologic structure or fault surface involves determining « Strike (trend) Dip (inclination) .

Mapping Geologic Structures Strike (trend) The compass direction of the line produced by the intersection of an inclined rock layer or fault with a horizontal plane. Generally expressed an an angle relative to north. N37°E N12°W .

Mapping Geologic Structures Dip (inclination) The angle of inclination of the surface of a rock unit or fault measured from a horizontal plane. 82°SE 17°SW . Includes both an angle of inclination and a direction toward which the rock is inclined.



Stephen Marshak .Folds Rocks are bent by crustal deformation into a series of wave-like undulations called folds. Most folds result from compressional stresses which shorten and thicken the crust.

. Fold axis or hinge line ± A line connecting points of maximum curvature along a fold.Characteristics of Folds Parts of a fold Limbs ± The two ³sides´ of a fold. Axial plane ± An imaginary surface that divides a fold symmetrically.

Common Types of Folds Anticline ± Upfolded or arched rock layers. (Think ³sink´) Depending on their orientation. Syncline ± Downfolds or rock troughs. anticlines and synclines can be described as Symmetrical Asymmetrical Recumbent (an overturned fold) Plunging .

Anticline .

Syncline .

Anticlines and Synclines are common in fold and thrust belts related to mountain belts. .



younger rocks outside. Oldest rocks in center. step-like folds in otherwise horizontal sedimentary strata. . Youngest rocks are found near the center. oldest rocks on the flanks.Common Types of Folds Monoclines ± Large. Domes -Upwarped circular or slightly elongated structure. Basins ± Downwarped circular or slightly elongated structure.



Faults .

Faults Breaks in rock that exhibit offset. Exist at a variety of scales. Sudden movements along faults are the cause of most earthquakes. Classified by movement« Horizontal Vertical Oblique .

.Faults Faults grind rocks to create fault gouge. ³Slicks´ reveal fault direction. Walls of a fault bear evidence of this grinding as slickensides.

Fault Types Dip-slip faults ± Motion is parallel to fault dip. . Strike-slip faults ± Motion is parallel to fault strike.

Dip Slip Faults May produce long. low cliffs called fault scarps. .

Dip Slip Faults Fault blocks classified as Footwall (rock mass below the fault) Hanging wall (rock mass above the fault) .

Types of Dip-Slip Faults Two dominant types Normal fault Reverse Fault Thrust (a low angle reverse fault) .

Accommodate lengthening or extension of the crust. .Types of Dip-Slip Faults Normal fault Hanging wall moves down relative to the footwall. Exhibit a variety of scales.

Normal Faults Larger scale normal faults are associated with fault-block mountains (Basin and Range of Nevada). . Normal fault bounded valleys are called grabens (Rhine graben). Normal fault bounded ridges are called horsts.

17b W. 11. W. Norton .Fig.

Types of Dip-Slip Faults Reverse faults Hanging wall block moves up relative to the footwall block Reverse faults have dips greater than 45o and thrust faults have dips less then 45o Accommodate shortening of the crust Strong compressional forces .

Hanging wall block moves up relative to the footwall block Thrust faults are characterized by a low dip angle (less then 45o).Types of Dip-Slip Faults Thrust faults . Accommodate shortening of the crust Strong compressional forces .A special case of reverse fault.

17a W.Fig. Norton . 11. W.


U. Geological Survey .S.

the block on the opposite side of the fault moves to the right Left-lateral ± as you face the fault.Strike-Slip Faults Dominant displacement is horizontal and parallel to the strike of the fault Types of strike-slip faults Right-lateral ± as you face the fault. the block on the opposite side of the fault moves to the left .

Strike-Slip Faults Strike-slip fault Transform fault ± Large strike-slip fault that cuts through the lithosphere ± Accommodates motion between two large crustal plates .

.Joints Joints are a very common rock structure. They are fractures with no offset. Result from tectonic stresses on rock mass. Occur in parallel groups.

Significance of Joints Chemical weathering tends to be concentrated along joints Many important mineral deposits are emplaced along joint systems Highly jointed rocks often represent a risk to construction projects .


Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.