Initial Publication Date: March 23, 2011

Folds, Faults, and Shear Zones

Compiled by Monica Bruckner at the Science Education Resource Center (SERC), Carleton College.

The following visualizations illustrate folds, faults, shear zones, and the processes by which they form. We also have additional structural geology visualization collections.

Computer Animations of Basic Structural Processes (more info) This page has several animated cross sections which illustrate common structural models. The animations illustrate the development of fault bend folds, duplexes, fault propagation folds, and normal faults.

Rod Holcombe Structural Geology Animation Library (more info) This site features several short animations of rock deformation. Animations are grouped by type, including flow and strain, shear zones, and fault-bend fold animations. The site contains both animated GIFs and QuickTime movies that can be viewed directly with a web browser.

Faults (more info) This site, which accompanies an introductory structural geology class at the University of Leeds, UK, contains information on faults. Topics include normal faults, thrust faults, strike-slip faults, faults and stress, and soft-linked fault systems. The site features explanations of the three basic types of faults with informative diagrams and a photo gallery.

Teaching Resources in Structural Geology (more info) This collection of web-based teaching resources is intended to assist educators in teaching structural geology. There are sections of materials on basic structures (folds, faults, shear zones, and others), including picture galleries, a section on principles of rock organization (deformation and geometry), and a section on strain, how it can be seen in rocks, and how it can be quantified. A collection of virtual field trips introduces students to structures and tectonic evolution of some prominent sites around the world, and a special section introduces the structural geology of the western Alps. Other materials include a virtual structural field mapping class, a section on rheology (the science of the deformation and flow of matter), and a collection of links to external sites with additional information.

Fundamentals of Structural Geology (more info) Fundamentals of Structural Geology is a textbook that emphasizes modern techniques of field data acquisition and analysis, the principles of continuum mechanics, and the mathematical and computational skills necessary to quantitatively describe, model, and explain the deformation of rock in Earth's lithosphere. This site provides an online interface for the book with supplementary materials for readers, instructors, and students. Resources include color photographs of outcrops, textbook figures, and supplementary illustrations for classroom presentations; student exercises to develop Matlab skills; Matlab scripts to make textbook figures dynamic, introduction to the concepts of differential geometry, mechanical models, and the evolution of geologic structures; and research quality data sets and solutions for instructors. The site also includes book information and links to additional resources.

Tour of the Hayward Fault (more info) This photographic tour of the Hayward Fault presents images of some of the most easily recognized surface features, from the City of Fremont in central California toward the southern end of the fault, across the Oakland-Berkeley region, northward to Point Pinole on the margin of San Pablo Bay. The history of earthquakes in the region and potential damage is discussed.

Southern California ShakeOut (more info) These compelling earthquake simulations show ground movement and wave propagation as an earthquake rupture propagates along the San Andreas Fault. These simulations are from the Great Southern California ShakeOut earthquake drill conducted in 2008. The animations capture the shaking at length scales larger than about 300 ft (100 m) and provide detailed animations of the shaking for this scenario earthquake. Several different views are available. The files are QuickTime and are available in three different resolutions.

Miocene and Younger Faults in Idaho (more info) This resource is a 1:1,000,000 scale map illustrating the location of faults within Idaho.

Interactive Map of Idaho Geology (more info) This site contains an interactive online map of Idaho geology.

Animations of Geologic Structures (more info) This site features a series of four Macromedia Flash animations. These simulations illustrate the formation of basic geologic structures, including normal faults, thrust faults, strike-slip faults and various styles of folds. The animations were designed to complement the chapter on geologic structures in "Physical Geology" by Plummer, McGeary and Carlson.