Primary Structures

Geologic Structure A definable shape or fabric in a rock Primary Structure: A structure formed during or shortly after deposition (sedimentary) or formation (igneous) of rocks Secondary Structure: A structure formed after its host rock is formed Tectonic Structure: A structure formed as a result of strain due to tectonic deformation

Primary Sedimentary Structures
Bedding: The primary surface in a sedimentary rock, separating beds with different composition, texture, color, cement (make sure you recognize beds based on these criteria!) Different beds represent different source, sedimentary processes, and environments of deposition Emphasized in outcrop by parting and differential weathering and erosion A plane of separation, along which the rock has a tendency to split or fracture parallel to bedding (don’t confuse with fracture!) Commonly due to the weak bonds between different beds, or preferred orientation of clays Commonly, there is a bedding-parallel fracture which forms due to unloading or rocks Closely-spaced parting is called fissility (e.g., in shale).

Bedding between inter-bedded sandstone and conglomerate .

Reasons Why Clays or Clasts are Preferrably-Oriented? 1.. Pebble Imbrication where shingled flat pebbles indicate current direction 2. Flakes reorient so that the traction is minimized This may lead to imbrication (grains overlap like roof singles) which may be used for paleo-current analysis (finding past flow direction and regime) e. Sedimentary settling of elongate or planar flakes in the gravity field (syn-depositional) Rotation and reorientation of flakes in a flowing fluid (syndepositional). 3. Reorientation (rotation) due to post-depositional compaction (squeezing of unlithified sediment due to the weight of the overlying rocks). .g.

and identify large structures such as folds. and unconformities. in beds provide clues as to the: Depositional environment Stratigraphic facing (younging direction) to identify rightside-up or overturned beds Current direction Beds help us to better map stratigraphic contacts. or nearly horizontal reference frame (recall the principle of original horizontality) Bedding as a primary structure (S0. . fossils. faults. textures. S2.Bedding is Important in Structural Analysis Bedding is used as a paleo-horizontal. S3) are compared relative to the S0 Structures. or original surface) is the first object that becomes deformed. The subsequent deformation surfaces created (S1. etc.

Bedding between sandstone & conglomerate .

g. e. from the base to the top of a bed.deposit inverse graded beds.. storm deposits (tempestites) & turbidites are typically graded beds . in turbidite) Can indicate which way is up provided the bed is not inversely graded Provide information for stratigraphic facing and possibly current direction. form as a consequence of deposition by turbidity currents (e. if cross-beds are present Must know what kind of depositional environment deposited the bed – example: debris flows .Graded Beds Graded beds: Progressive fining of clast grain size..g.

Graded Bedding .

usually concave upward. laminations or beds deposited parallel to the slip face.Cross Beds provide information for facing and possibly current direction Cross beds: Are surfaces within a thicker. laminations parallel to the upper master bedding. Foresets define the cross beds. curved. master bed that are oblique to the bedding in the master bed Defined by subtle parting or concentration of grains Form when grains move from the windward or upstream side of a dune ripple. Foreset: inclined. These merge with the topset and bottomset beds. toward the leeward or downstream side Topset: thin. Current direction is perpendicular to the strike of the foreset Bottomset: thin laminations parallel to the bottom master bedding .

Cross Bedding .

juxtaposing younger bottomsets on the older foreset.Dip direction indicates transport direction . . The foreset beds are inclined at an angle to the main planes of stratification. .Truncated at top .Cross Beds Erosion truncates the topset and upper part of the foreset. this forms higher foreset angles at the upper bedding compared to the tangential angles below (used for facing).Tangential at bottom .

Ripple Marks Ridges and valleys on the surface of a bed. Cross stratification with wave amplitude < 6“ (1) (2) Oscillation or Symmetric Ripple Marks Oscillation wave produced ripples (current moving in two opposite directions) • Crests are pointed and troughs are curved Symmetrical concave up small scale (amplitude < 6") cross stratification. formed due to current flow.e. • Good facing indicator Current or Asymmetric Ripple Marks Asymmetric cross stratification produced by current moving in one direction. uniformly flowing current • Good current direction indicator . i..

Ripple Marks .

Mud Cracks Polygon shape in map view. Result from desiccation into an array of polygons separated by mud cracks. Good facing indicator (individual cracks taper downward. . Thin (typically sand filled) fractures that taper down in cross section because each polygon curls upwards along its margin.

Mud Cracks .

flute casts taper down-stream! . Good indicators of current direction Groove casts . filling.Elongate nearly straight ridges Bounce. Thus. Brush. subsequent erosion produce positive relief casts. Skip marks All are discontinuous type of groove cast Flute Cast – Asymmetric troughs formed by fluid vortices or eddies (mini-tornadoes) that dig into unconsolidated sediment Stronger vortex at the upstream end cuts deeper and narrower than the downstream part which is shallower and wider.Other Casts Erosion or scraping.

. or slump At greater depths. forming disrupted bedding .Load Casts Bulbous protrusions of denser sand into less dense mud layers Forms due to density instability when sediment is still soft (i.Sole Marks .e. partially consolidated mud breaks into pieces and sink into underlying sand. storm. still unlithified) The sinking is triggered by the disturbance during earthquake.

. 2. Intrusive contact: an igneous cuts across another rock body. 3. Depositional contact: a sedimentary unit is deposited on top of another. Fault contact: two units are juxtaposed by a fault.Contacts Contact: Boundary between two geologic units of any kind. 1.

across the contact Contact represents erosion or non-deposition of strata . such that there is a substantial gap in time (called hiatus).Unconformities Conformable contact: The boundary between adjacent beds or units does not represent substantial gap in time A succession of beds of nearly the same age that represent nearly continuous deposition 1. few years to billions of years. Diastem Erosion surfaces within a conformable succession of strata Unconformable contact (unconformity): Represents an interruption in sedimentation.

Unconformity .

The younger layers are truncated by the rugged unconformity (difference with angular unconformity).Four Types of Unconformity Angular unconformity . Beds above and below the unconformity may or may not parallel the unconformity. There is an angular discordance between the beds above and below the unconformity . Buttress (onlap) unconformity – New beds lie on areas with significant pre-depositional topography. Beds below are truncated by the unconformity.Beds below and above the unconformity have different attitudes.

paleosols. crystalline (igneous or metamorphic) basement rocks . created by non-deposition or erosion. A disconformity is hard to recognize in the field Fossils.Types of Unconformity Disconformities – Beds above and below the unconformity are parallel. but there is a hiatus. or scour features help! Nonconformities – Strata deposited on older.

and soil structures . rest on unconformable surface and contain fragments (clasts) of underlying rocks Topographic relief Paleosols .Identifying Unconformities Basal conglomerates. weathered zone just below the unconformity Recognized by color change.Ancient soils.

they may produce a slurry of clasts suspended in a matrix called debris flow. In this case. When the debris flow comes to rest. they maintain their cohesion. The downslope movement is helped by fluid pressure If sediments that move down the slope are soft.Soft Sediment Penecontemporaneous Structures Sediments may be deposited with a gentle initial dip. and produce what is called slumping . it forms a poorly-sorted conglomerate If the sediments are compacted sufficiently before they are dislodged by gravity. gravity may pull them down during storm or earthquake.

.Penecontemporaneous structures The folds and faults formed during slumping are called penecontemporaneous Penecontemporaneous means that they formed almost (hence “pene”) at the same time as the original deposition of the layers Penecontemporaneous folds and faults are characteristically chaotic They are intra-formational. i.e. bounded above and below by relatively undeformed strata .

fault displacement continues as sediment is deposited on top of the fault blocks Thickness of sedimentary units varies across the fault .Growth Faults Synsedimentary faulting .

Flow structures Pahoehoe.Good flow direction indicator Pillow Structures Flat bottomed. curved top basalt encased in thin obsidian cover Good facing indicator . texture and weathering.Volcanic Structures Flow Layering Layers of volcanic flows defined by color. Ropy lava .

Good facing indicator . top of flow does not have as well defined columnar joints as base of flow.Volcanic Structures. cont’d Vesicles Voids formed by gas bubbles typically more numerous at the top of the flow Good facing indicator Columnar Jointing Fractures formed in basaltic lava due cooling and shrinkage Polygonal columns Product of slow cooling.

Plutonic Structures Flow Foliation Aligned minerals in intrusive igneous rocks occurs while rocks are still melted or partially melted and flowing.Intrusive . Indicates flow direction .

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