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Processes in Structural Geology and Tectonics

Ben van der Pluijm - University of Michigan
Stephen Marshak - University of Illinois

ISBN: 978-1-5323-0282-4; v. 1.5.7
DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2845.9126
© 2016 The Authors and WW Norton

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Preface [open access] - Organizational philosophy; Information for users; Design and online annotation (personal and PSGTusers); Search; About the authors; Supporting materials.
Table of Contents
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1. Geologic Structures and Deformation Regimes - Depositional structures; Unconformities; Salt structures; Igneous/volcanic structures; Impact structures; Deformation structures; Deformation regimes (Frictional regime, Plastic regime); Plate tectonics.
Supplementary Material - Concept summaries; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Structures (2016) - Structures (2017)
2. Force and Stress - Force and Units; Newtonian and continuum mechanics; Trigonometry; 2D and 3D stress; Normal stress and shear stress; Mohr construction for Stress; Stress states; Measurement of stress (at surface, at depth); Lithospheric stress states.
Supplementary Material - Terminology, Units and conversions; Mohr construction activity; Stress tensor; Stress trajectories; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Force&Stress (2016) - Force&Stress (2017)
3. The Frictional Regime - Processes of brittle deformation; Tensile cracking; Axial deformation experiments; Formation of shear fractures; Failure criteria; Faults and stress; Andersonian theory; Frictional sliding; Byerlee’s law; Stress and sliding; Role of fluids.
Supplementary Material - Terminology; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Frictional Regime (2016) - Frictional Regime (2017)
4. Joints and Veins - Surface features; Elasticity; Joint arrays; Joint spacing; Origin of joints; Origin and history of veins; Syn- and anti-taxial veins; En echelon veins; Lineaments.
Supplementary Material - Terminology; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Joints&Veins (2016) - Joints&Veins (2017)
5. Faults - Fault types and geometries; Fault systems; Fault bends; Dimensions; Fault surfaces; Fault rocks (Cataclasites, Mylonites, Pseudotachylytes); Fault character with depth; More on mechanics of (reverse) faulting; Thrust paradox; Thrust wedges; Faults and Society.
Supplementary Material - Fault Types; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Faults&Faulting (2016) - Faults&Faulting (2017)
6. Deformation and Strain - Deformation components; Strain ellipse (and ellipsoid); Coaxial and non-coaxial strain; Superposed strain; Strain quantities; Representations of strain; Finite strain analysis (Spherical objects, Angular changes, Length changes).
Supplementary Material - Types of strain; Strain activity; Mohr construction for strain; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Deformation&Strain (2016) - Deformation&Strain (2017)
7. The Plastic Regime - Strain rate; Viscosity; Crystal defects (Point defects, Line defects/Dislocations); Crystal plasticity; Dislocation creep; Glide; Climb; Microstructures; Twinning; Recovery; Recrystallization; Diffusional processes and microstructures; Deformation mechanism maps; Confusing Terminology?
Supplementary Material - Terminology; Crystal slip systems; Summary table; Calcite twinning analysis; Deformation mechanism map activity; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Plastic Regime (2016) - Plastic Regime (2017)
8. Folds - Fold Description; Fold Classification; Dip isogons; Fold systems; Fault-related folds (Fault-bend folding, Fault-propagation folding, Detachment folding); Elements of fold style; Superposed folding; Bending and buckling; Fold mechanics and fold math; Fold strain.
Supplementary Material - Terminology; Dip isogons; Strain-modified Biot-Ramberg equation; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Folds (2016)
9. Fabrics and Fabric Elements - Foliations (By Metamorphic grade, Morphology, Strain); Shear zones (Shear sense indicators, Strain); Lineations; Boudinage.
Supplementary Material - Terminology; Crystallographic fabrics; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Fabrics (2016)
10. The Lithosphere - What is rheology? Insights from rock deformation experiments; Characteristics stress-strain behaviors; General rock creep; Elastic, viscous and composite linear rheologies; Maxwell relaxation time and Earth behavior; Non-linear rheologies; Plastic flow stresses; Crust and upper mantle strength curve(s); Defining lithosphere and asthenosphere; Lithologic vs rheologic layering.
Supplementary Material - Terminology; Creep parameters; Isostasy; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Lithosphere (2016)
11. Plate Tectonics - Earth’s layers; Earth’s topography; The crust; The mantle; The tenets of plate tectonics (Today’s plates, Plate boundaries); Kinematic of plate tectonics (Linear and angular velocities, Absolute and relative motions); Mechanics of plate tectonics; Tectonic cycles (Wilson Cycle, Supercontinent Cycle).
Supplementary Material - Studying Earth's interior; Vectors and plate velocities; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Plate Tectonics (2016)
12. Extensional Tectonics - Today’s divergent plate boundaries (Ocean Ridges, Lithologies); Failed rifts; Structural Styles (Pure shear systems, Simple shear systems); Stretching factor; Metamorphic core complexes (and isostasy); Rift evolution (Passive margins); Causes of rifting and extension.
Supplementary Material - Today's plates and boundaries; Terminology; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Extensional Tectonics (2016)
13. Contractional Tectonics - Convergent plate margins (Downgoing slab, Trench, Accretionary wedge, Forearc basin and volcanic arc, Backarc region); Stages of collision (Convergence, Suturing, Thickening, Collapse, Delamination); Structures of collision (Fold-thrust belts, Fold-thrust kinematics); Related processes (Extrusion tectonics, Terrane accretion); Orogenic architecture (Synoptic cross-sections, Curved orogens); Speculations on orogenic style.
Supplementary Material - Terminology; Terminology of fold-thrust belts; Balanced cross-sections; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Contractional Tectonics (2016)
14. Wrench Tectonics - Classes of strike-slip faults (Transfer faults, Transcurrent faults); Strike-slip systems (Transpression, Transtension, Restraining and releasing bends, Strike-slip duplexes); Continental Strike-slip faults; Oceanic strike-slip faults (Transform faults, Fracture zones).
Supplementary Material - Terminology; Reading.
Lecture Presentation - Wrench Tectonics (2016)
Additional Material:
A Global View and North American Perspectives
Lecture Presentation
- Time, Place and Tectonics (2016)
Processes in Western North America (Cenozoic-Mesozoic) - Mesozoic-Today convergent margin setting with terranes, accretionary wedges, variably exhumed arc and foreland FTB (Sevier). Early Cenozoic transition to basement-cored uplift (Laramide), Middle Cenozoic and younger continental extension (Basin-and-Range) and Late Cenozoic subduction of ridge (San Andreas Transform) in conterminous Alaska-N Mexico segment.
Lecture Presentation - Western North America (2016)
Processes in Eastern North America (Paleozoic) - Opening and closing of the Proto-Atlantic (Iapetus and Rheic Oceans) based primarily on paleogeography from fossil biomes and paleomagnetism. The Appalachians preserve Laurentian (N America) and Gondwanan (Africa) margins, separated by a belt with ocean remnants (ophiolites, arcs, islands/plateaus, subduction complexes), illustrated in the northern segment. The southern segment is dominated by Late Paleozoic deformation from final ocean basin closure, resulting in large overthrusts that are occasionally exposed in tectonic windows. The concepts of oroclines (curved mountain belts) and salients/recesses (irregular margin) are also explored.
Lecture Presentation - Eastern North America (2016)
Processes in Central North America (Paleozoic-Precambrian) - Regional geology of the Interior in the context of multiple supercontinent cycles culminating in the “United Plates of America”. Precambrian orogenic structure of the Grenville orogen (remnants of once giant mountain range underfoot) and the Midcontinent rift (thick volcanics and seds with Michigan “gold”). Km-scale, Paleozoic intracratonic basins (Michigan Basin) and arches are evidence of vertical tectonics (epeirogeny), possibly linked by far-field plate boundary activity.
Lecture Presentation - Central North America (2016)
Hands-on Activities - A set of 3-hour laboratory activities are used in conjunction with lecture material, focusing on spatial skills (maps, sections, projections, etc) and applications of major concepts (stress/failure, strain, tectonics, etc). The activities are derived from multiple sources (old and new) and are only shared with instructors as an example set. They are not part of the PSG&T offering. Contact:

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ISBN 978-1-5323-0282-4


Email: (reaches Ben van der Pluijm)

© 2016 The Authors and WW Norton Last Update: 14-Feb-2017