Structural Geology Problems And Solutions Pdf

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By Elsevier Science. Problems and Solutions in Structural Geology and Tectonics, Volume 5, in the series Developments in Structural Geology and Tectonics, presents students, researchers and practitioners with an all-new set of problems and solutions that structural geologists and tectonics researchers commonly face.


Structural geology is the study of the three-dimensional distribution of rock units with respect to their deformational histories. The primary goal of structural geology is to use measurements of present-day rock geometries to uncover information about the history of deformation strain in the rocks, and ultimately, to understand the stress field that resulted in the observed strain and geometries. This understanding of the dynamics of the stress field can be linked to important events in the geologic past; a common goal is to understand the structural evolution of a particular area with respect to regionally widespread patterns of rock deformation e.

The study of geologic structures has been of prime importance in economic geology , both petroleum geology and mining geology. Similarly, faulted and structurally complex areas are notable as permeable zones for hydrothermal fluids, resulting in concentrated areas of base and precious metal ore deposits. Veins of minerals containing various metals commonly occupy faults and fractures in structurally complex areas. These structurally fractured and faulted zones often occur in association with intrusive igneous rocks.

They often also occur around geologic reef complexes and collapse features such as ancient sinkholes. Deposits of gold , silver , copper , lead , zinc , and other metals, are commonly located in structurally complex areas.

Structural geology is a critical part of engineering geology , which is concerned with the physical and mechanical properties of natural rocks. Structural fabrics and defects such as faults, folds, foliations and joints are internal weaknesses of rocks which may affect the stability of human engineered structures such as dams , road cuts, open pit mines and underground mines or road tunnels.

Geotechnical risk, including earthquake risk can only be investigated by inspecting a combination of structural geology and geomorphology. In addition, areas of steep slopes are potential collapse or landslide hazards. Environmental geologists and hydrogeologists need to apply the tenets of structural geology to understand how geologic sites impact or are impacted by groundwater flow and penetration.

For instance, a hydrogeologist may need to determine if seepage of toxic substances from waste dumps is occurring in a residential area or if salty water is seeping into an aquifer. Plate tectonics is a theory developed during the s which describes the movement of continents by way of the separation and collision of crustal plates. It is in a sense structural geology on a planet scale, and is used throughout structural geology as a framework to analyze and understand global, regional, and local scale features.

Structural geologists use a variety of methods to first measure rock geometries, second reconstruct their deformational histories, and third estimate the stress field that resulted in that deformation. Primary data sets for structural geology are collected in the field. Structural geologists measure a variety of planar features bedding planes , foliation planes , fold axial planes, fault planes , and joints , and linear features stretching lineations, in which minerals are ductilely extended; fold axes; and intersection lineations, the trace of a planar feature on another planar surface.

The inclination of a planar structure in geology is measured by strike and dip. The strike is the line of intersection between the planar feature and a horizontal plane, taken according to the right hand convention, and the dip is the magnitude of the inclination, below horizontal, at right angles to strike.

Alternatively, dip and dip direction may be used as this is absolute. Dip direction is measured in degrees, generally clockwise from North. Note that this is the same as above. The term hade is occasionally used and is the deviation of a plane from vertical i.

Fold axis plunge is measured in dip and dip direction strictly, plunge and azimuth of plunge. The orientation of a fold axial plane is measured in strike and dip or dip and dip direction. Lineations are measured in terms of dip and dip direction, if possible. Often lineations occur expressed on a planar surface and can be difficult to measure directly. In this case, the lineation may be measured from the horizontal as a rake or pitch upon the surface.

Rake is measured by placing a protractor flat on the planar surface, with the flat edge horizontal and measuring the angle of the lineation clockwise from horizontal. The orientation of the lineation can then be calculated from the rake and strike-dip information of the plane it was measured from, using a stereographic projection. If a fault has lineations formed by movement on the plane, e. The convention for analysing structural geology is to identify the planar structures , often called planar fabrics because this implies a textural formation, the linear structures and, from analysis of these, unravel deformations.

Planar structures are named according to their order of formation, with original sedimentary layering the lowest at S0. Often it is impossible to identify S0 in highly deformed rocks, so numbering may be started at an arbitrary number or given a letter S A , for instance.

In cases where there is a bedding-plane foliation caused by burial metamorphism or diagenesis this may be enumerated as S0a. If there are folds, these are numbered as F 1 , F 2 , etc. Generally the axial plane foliation or cleavage of a fold is created during folding, and the number convention should match.

For example, an F 2 fold should have an S 2 axial foliation. Deformations are numbered according to their order of formation with the letter D denoting a deformation event. Folds and foliations, because they are formed by deformation events, should correlate with these events.

For example, an F 2 fold, with an S 2 axial plane foliation would be the result of a D 2 deformation. Metamorphic events may span multiple deformations.

Sometimes it is useful to identify them similarly to the structural features for which they are responsible, e. This may be possible by observing porphyroblast formation in cleavages of known deformation age, by identifying metamorphic mineral assemblages created by different events, or via geochronology.

Intersection lineations in rocks, as they are the product of the intersection of two planar structures, are named according to the two planar structures from which they are formed. For instance, the intersection lineation of a S 1 cleavage and bedding is the L intersection lineation also known as the cleavage-bedding lineation.

Stretching lineations may be difficult to quantify, especially in highly stretched ductile rocks where minimal foliation information is preserved. Where possible, when correlated with deformations as few are formed in folds, and many are not strictly associated with planar foliations , they may be identified similar to planar surfaces and folds, e.

For convenience some geologists prefer to annotate them with a subscript S, for example L s 1 to differentiate them from intersection lineations, though this is generally redundant. Stereographic projection is a method for analyzing the nature and orientation of deformation stresses, lithological units and penetrative fabrics wherein linear and planar features structural strike and dip readings, typically taken using a compass clinometer passing through an imagined sphere are plotted on a two-dimensional grid projection, facilitating more holistic analysis of a set of measurements.

On a large scale, structural geology is the study of the three-dimensional interaction and relationships of stratigraphic units within terranes of rock or geological regions.

This branch of structural geology deals mainly with the orientation, deformation and relationships of stratigraphy bedding , which may have been faulted, folded or given a foliation by some tectonic event. This is mainly a geometric science, from which cross sections and three-dimensional block models of rocks, regions, terranes and parts of the Earth's crust can be generated. Study of regional structure is important in understanding orogeny , plate tectonics and more specifically in the oil, gas and mineral exploration industries as structures such as faults, folds and unconformities are primary controls on ore mineralisation and oil traps.

Modern regional structure is being investigated using seismic tomography and seismic reflection in three dimensions, providing unrivaled images of the Earth's interior, its faults and the deep crust. Further information from geophysics such as gravity and airborne magnetics can provide information on the nature of rocks imaged to be in the deep crust.

Rock microstructure or texture of rocks is studied by structural geologists on a small scale to provide detailed information mainly about metamorphic rocks and some features of sedimentary rocks , most often if they have been folded. Textural study involves measurement and characterisation of foliations , crenulations , metamorphic minerals, and timing relationships between these structural features and mineralogical features.

Usually this involves collection of hand specimens, which may be cut to provide petrographic thin sections which are analysed under a petrographic microscope. Microstructural analysis finds application also in multi-scale statistical analysis, aimed to analyze some rock features showing scale invariance. Geologists use rock geometry measurements to understand the history of strain in rocks. Strain can take the form of brittle faulting and ductile folding and shearing.

Brittle deformation takes place in the shallow crust, and ductile deformation takes place in the deeper crust, where temperatures and pressures are higher.

By understanding the constitutive relationships between stress and strain in rocks, geologists can translate the observed patterns of rock deformation into a stress field during the geologic past. The following list of features are typically used to determine stress fields from deformational structures. The mechanical properties of rock play a vital role in the structures that form during deformation deep below the earth's crust.

The conditions in which a rock is present will result in different structures that geologists observe above ground in the field. The field of structural geology tries to relate the formations that humans see to the changes the rock went through to get to that final structure. Knowing the conditions of deformation that lead to such structures can illuminate the history of the deformation of the rock. Temperature and pressure play a huge role in the deformation of rock.

At the conditions under the earth's crust of extreme high temperature and pressure, rocks are ductile. They can bend, fold or break. Other vital conditions that contribute to the formation of structure of rock under the earth are the stress and strain fields. Stress is a pressure, defined as a directional force over area. When a rock is subjected to stresses, it changes shape. When the stress is released, the rock may or may not return to its original shape.

That change in shape is quantified by strain, the change in length over the original length of the material in one dimension. Stress induces strain which ultimately results in a changed structure. Elastic deformation refers to a reversible deformation.

In other words, when stress on the rock is released, the rock returns to its original shape. Reversible, linear, elasticity involves the stretching, compressing, or distortion of atomic bonds. Because there is no breaking of bonds, the material springs back when the force is released. This type of deformation is modeled using a linear relationship between stress and strain, i.

The elastic modulus is, in effect, a measure of the strength of atomic bonds. Plastic deformation refers to non-reversible deformation. The relationship between stress and strain for permanent deformation is nonlinear.

Stress has caused permanent change of shape in the material by involving the breaking of bonds. One mechanism of plastic deformation is the movement of dislocations by an applied stress. Because rocks are essentially aggregates of minerals, we can think of them as poly-crystalline materials. Dislocations are a type of crystallographic defect which consists of an extra or missing half plane of atoms in the periodic array of atoms that make up a crystal lattice.

Dislocations are present in all real crystallographic materials. Hardness is difficult to quantify. It is a measure of resistance to deformation, specifically permanent deformation. There is precedent for hardness as a surface quality, a measure of the abrasiveness or surface-scratching resistance of a material. If the material being tested, however, is uniform in composition and structure, then the surface of the material is only a few atomic layers thick, and measurements are of the bulk material.

Thus, simple surface measurements yield information about the bulk properties.

Structural geology

Walter Stanley White; A cotangent ruler for simplifying the graphic solution of problems in structural geology. Economic Geology ;; 41 5 : — The cotangent ruler is a device for measuring directly the dip of contoured surfaces, or, conversely, for constructing contours that represent planes of known dip. It greatly simplifies the graphic solution of problems in structural geology, and has several specialized applications to problems commonly encountered in mining geology and areal geologic mapping. Shibboleth Sign In. OpenAthens Sign In. Institutional Sign In.

Problems and Solutions in Structural Geology and Tectonics, Volume 5

Structural geology is the study of the three-dimensional distribution of rock units with respect to their deformational histories. The primary goal of structural geology is to use measurements of present-day rock geometries to uncover information about the history of deformation strain in the rocks, and ultimately, to understand the stress field that resulted in the observed strain and geometries. This understanding of the dynamics of the stress field can be linked to important events in the geologic past; a common goal is to understand the structural evolution of a particular area with respect to regionally widespread patterns of rock deformation e. The study of geologic structures has been of prime importance in economic geology , both petroleum geology and mining geology.

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are. This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop.

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Structural geology

Techniques for describing the structural geology of cratonic fault and fold zones Mark Joseph Abolins 3. What do earthquake magnitudes mean?

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