Teach the Earth > Structural Geology > Selected Readings

Selected Readings for Teaching Structural Geology


  • Formation of spaced cleavage and folds in brittle limestone by dissolution. Alvarez, Engelder and Lowrie,1976 Short, well written article that presents a nice case for the role of dissolution in cleavage formation and is an early article on this subject. This is a good article for a class discussion on cleavage and its formation, and students can be asked to comment on what they believe are the most compelling examples that support the authors' position. (citation and description)
  • The Hydro-Potential (HP) Value: A Rock Classification Technique for Evaluation of the Ground-Water Potential in Fractured Bedrock. Gates, 1997 The Hydro-Potential (HP) Value: A Rock Classification Technique for Evaluation of the Ground-Water Potential in Fractured Bedrock (citation and description)
  • Questioning the Delphic Oracle. Hale, et al., 2003 A wonderful detective story that deals with locating and mapping faults in the field and migration of fluids with dissolved, intoxicating volatiles through permeable fault zone rocks. The connection to human events (the Delphi Oracle) is a lovely bonus. Because it is a Scientific American article, students find it very readable. (citation and description)
  • Structure and permeability: Geologic controls on induced seismicity at Nurek Reservoir, Tadjikstan, USSR. Leith, Simpson, and Alvarez, 1981 Short article on the role of bedrock structure on the distribution of elevated pore pressure and reservoir induced seismicity. Excellent real-world example of pore pressure effects. Clear description of connection between local structure and regional tectonics. (citation and description)
  • Structural openings and the localization of ore bodies. Nelson et al, 2003 This article discusses controls on structural openings in rocks that control fluid flow and ore deposit formation. Examples of analysis methods and a proposed classification of structural openings (with examples) are included. (citation and description)
  • Determination of movement sense in mylonites. Simpson, 1986 Succinct and clearly-explained article of moderate length on kinematic indicators in mylonites. Nicely illustrated. Students find the level of the presentation in this article to be just about right: accessible with a bit of effort. (citation and description)

Articles that could be used to develop case examples/case studies

  • The structure and formation of mud volcano summit calderas. Evans, Stewart and Davies, 2008. From new mapping and comparison with previously identified examples the authors describe a series of common structural and morphological features found at a number of mud volcano summit calderas and propose a mechanism for caldera formation. A case study could focus on how removal of material is accommodated by normal faulting; how the geometry of the faults relates to the geometry of the removed materal; and what would happen if materal is added? (citation and description)
  • Scent of a myth: tectonics, geochemistry and geomythology at Delphi (Greece). Piccardi, Monti, Vaselli, Tassi, Gaki-Papanastassiou, and Papanastassiou, 2008. This article explores the hypothesis that the Oracle at Delphi prophesied under the effects of intoxicating gas exhaling from a chasm in the ground. Good for a case study on localized fluid flow along fault zones. Nice application of structural geology to geoarcheology. Also discusses earthquakes. (citation and description)
  • Rainfall-induced lahars in the Belham Valley, Montserrat, West Indies. Barclay, Alexander and Susnik, 2007. Rain falling on loose volcanic debris over the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat generates hazardous floods in the Belham Valley. This article relates the nature of the hazard and area of risk to sediment aggradation, rainfall, and changes in the runoff efficiency over time (as a result of rilling and vegetation removal). This article could form the basis of a case study of the influence of pore fluid pressure on slope stability, connecting with Mohr Circles. It could also be used to discuss rheology, Newtonian and non-Newtonian behaviour in lahars. (citation and description)
  • Magmatic arc fault systems, deformation partitioning and emplacement of granitic complexes in the Coastal Cordillera, north Chilean Andes (25 degrees, 30 minutes South to 27 degrees South). Grocott and Taylor, 2002. How magma moves through the crust and how large batholiths are constructed remains a controversial issue. This paper links structural geology with arc magmatism. (citation and description)
  • Cratered cobbles in Triassic Buntsandstein conglomerates in northeastern Spain: An indicator of shock deformation in the vicinity of large impacts. Ernston, Rampino, and Hiltl, 2001. A re-evaluation of the deformation features within the conglomerates of the Buntsandstein to categorize them as impact-related. Cross-over between brittle behavior of materials due to instantaneous stresses and the study of meteorites. Students could be asked questions concerning the relationship between fracture orientation and the impact craters, comparison between the samples described and conglomerates showing evidence of pressure solution, or material behavior of experiments vs. what's found in the conglomerates. (citation and description)
  • Crustal structure and tectonics from the Los Angeles basin to the Mojave Desert, southern California. Fuis, Ryberg, Godfrey, Okaya, and Murphy, 2001. Geophysical study of a transect across southern California to better determine the presence and placement of both paleo and active faults. This study was conducted to help quantify earthquake hazards, but students could be asked questions about regions that have a high risk for future faulting and possible future movement orientations based on current plate movements as well as the tectonics that formed the crustal structure. (citation and description)

Applications of Structural Geology to Other Disciplines

  • Structural Analysis of Alba Patera, Mars: From deep-seated to shallow events (more info) (dissertation) Cailleau, B., 2002, Structural Analysis of Alba Patera, Mars: From deep-seated to shallow events [dissertation]: Kiel, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, 93 p. Part I discusses the relationships of lineations and regional stresses to Martian tectonics around Alba Patera, a large volcanic feature, and utilizes a physical model of reservoir dynamics (sandbox and balloon). Part II discusses lithospheric flexure of the Martian crust with finite element modeling including Young's Modulus and Poisson's ratio and the relationship of crustal thickness to fault type. (Note: article is in English)
  • Primary centers and secondary concentrations of tectonic activity through time in the western hemisphere of Mars Anderson, R., Dohm, J., Golombek, M., Haldemann, A., Franklin, B., Tanaka, K., Lias, J. and Peer, B., 2001, Primary centers and secondary concentrations of tectonic activity through time in the western hemisphere of Mars: Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 106(E9), p. 20,563-20,586. Stages of radial and concentric structures are analyzed in a regional context in the Tharsis volcanic region on Mars. Extensional, contractional, and volcanic structures are emphasized.
  • Maya Water World (Geoarchaeology and Basic Structure) Vesilind, P. J., 2003, Maya Water World: National Geographic, October 2003. Maya burial site caves are generally related to the Chixulub impact crater structure. Global climate change effects in the region are also briefly mentioned. This is a very basic article.

Do you have ideas, articles or references that illustrate how structural geology relates to other disciplines? Share your ideas here.

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