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Co-Teaching:

GEOLOGIC STRUCTURES

Introduction

Geologic structures such as faults and folds are the architecture of the earth's crust. Geologic
structures influence the shape of the landscape, determine the degree of landslide hazard, bring old
rocks to the surface, bury young rocks, trap petroleum and natural gas, shift during earthquakes, and
channel fluids that create economic deposits of metals such as gold and silver.

Folds, faults, and other geologic structures accommodate large forces such as the stress of tectonic
plates jostling against each other, and smaller forces such as the stress of gravity pulling on a steep
mountainside. An understanding of the structures that shape the earth's crust can help you see when
and where the crust was subjected to pushing or pulling, terrane accretion or crustal rifting.
Co-Teaching:
GEOLOGIC STRUCTURES
Definitions:

STRESS: The force applied to a plane divided by the area of the plane.

COMPRESSIVE STRESS: The stress generated by forces directed toward one another on
opposite sides of a real or imaginary plane.

TENSILE STRESS: The stress generated by forces directed away from one another on
opposite sides of a real or imaginary plane.

SHEAR STRESS: Stress (force per unit area) that acts parallel to a (fault) plane and tends to
cause the rocks on either side of the plane to slide by one another.

STRAIN: The result of stress applied to a body, causing the deformation of its shape and/or a
change of volume.

ELASTIC RESPONSE: The deformation of a body in proportion to the applied stress and its
recovery once the stress is removed.

ELASTIC LIMIT: The maximum amount of stress a material can withstand before it deforms
permanently.

DUCTILE RESPONSE: The permanent deformation, without fracture in the shape of a solid.

BRITTLE RESPONSE: The fracturing of a rock in response to stress with little or no


permanent deformation prior to its rupture.

FOLD: Permanent wavelike deformation in layered rock or sediment.

FAULT: A fracture in bedrock along which rocks on one side have moved relative to the other
side.

JOINT: A fracture on a rock without noticeable movement.


Co-Teaching:
GEOLOGIC STRUCTURES
Co-Teaching:
GEOLOGIC STRUCTURES
Co-Teaching:
GEOLOGIC STRUCTURES
Joints

A fracture on a rock without noticeable displacement.

Joints are the most commonly observed structure at the earth's surface. Near and at the earth's
surface, rocks break and crack. Most often the rocks on either side of the crack do not slide or shift
their position, so the cracks do not qualify as faults. Such cracks or fracture surfaces are called joints.

Joints are present in nearly every outcrop of bedrock at the earth's surface. Because it is common for
joints to be relatively straight and flat they may be mistaken for sedimentary beds.