Lab 10: Structural Geology Part II

Lab Structure

Recommended additional work Yes – review for final lab project
Required materials Printed block models 1 to 6, pencil, pencil crayons, ruler, protractor

Learning Objectives

After carefully reading this chapter, completing the exercises within it, and answering the questions at the end, you should be able to:

  • Describe the types of stresses that exist within the Earth’s crust.
  • Explain how rocks respond to those stresses by brittle, elastic, or plastic deformation, or by fracturing.
  • Summarize how rocks become folded and know the terms used to describe the features of folds.
  • Summarize the different types of faults, including normal, reverse, thrust, and strike-slip.
  • Visualize layers of rocks that form complex geologic structures in three-dimensional space.
  • Recognize and describe geologic structures in block models and on geological maps.
  • Describe the geologic history of a structurally complex area.
Key Terms
  • Stress
  • Strain
  • Compression
  • Tension
  • Shear
  • Ductile
  • Brittle
  • Deformation
  • Anticline
  • Syncline
  • Limbs
  • Axial plane
  • Hinge zone
  • Fracture
  • Hanging wall
  • Footwall
  • Normal fault
  • Reverse fault
  • Strike-slip fault
  • Left-lateral
  • Right-lateral

Observing and understanding geological structures helps us to determine the kinds of stresses that have existed within Earth’s crust in the past.  This type of information is critical to our understanding of plate tectonics, earthquakes, the formation of mountains, metamorphism, and Earth resources.  Some of the types of geological structures that are important to study include bedding planes, planes of foliation, dykes and sills, fractures, faults, and folds.  Structural geologists make careful observations of the orientations of these structures and the amount and direction of offset along faults. Locating and mapping these structural features is important for safe engineering of infrastructure such as roads and housing. A good understanding of geological structures in the subsurface is also critical for mineral and petroleum exploration.


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A Practical Guide to Introductory Geology Copyright © 2020 by Siobhan McGoldrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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