Learning outcomes of the course unit
Students are expected to become able to:
- Identifying and describing the main deformation structures occurring in natural rocks, and relating them to the stress field from which they were generated;
- Analyzing the geometry and kinematics of deformation structures by stereographic projections;
- Placing deformation structures in the context of the main tectonic systems occurring on Earth;
Basic geologic information acquired during the first year of the Course of Study.
Course contents summary
The notions of stress, deformation and rheology, brittle and plastic deformation structures and their structural analysis, major geodynamic regimes associated with tectonic plate motions.
1 – How rocks deform: stress, strain, deformation mechanisms and rheology;
2 – Brittle deformation structures: faults, joints, veins stylolites, fault-related folds;
3 – Geometric representation and statistical analysis of the orientation of linear and planar geological elements by stereographic projections;
4 – Anatomy of fault zones in space and time as a function of mechanical stratigraphy: damage zone, fault core and their evolution in coesive rocks and poorly lithified sediments;
5- Ductile deformation structures: foliations, lineations, boudinage, mylonitic shear zones and plastic folds;
6 – Extensional tectonics, planar and listric extensional fault systems, fault segmentation, role of syntectonic sediments, rifting;
7 – Inversion tectonics: fault zones re-activated with opposite kinematics, deformation structures diagnostic of positive inversion of extensional growth faults;
8 – Contractional tectonics: geometry and classification of thrust systems, activation chronology, role of synkinematic sedimentation and erosion;
9 – Anatomy and mechanics of orogenic wedges and of foreland basin systems;
10 – Strike-slip tectonics: anatomy of transform and transcurrent fault systems, releasing and restraining bends, pull-apart basins, straike-slip fault termination within tectonic plates;
11 – Salt tectonics: composition and rheology of evaporites, triggering mechanisms and evolution of diapirs in extensional and contractional tectonic regimes, dynamics of evaporites at passive margins.
At the end of each subject, the relevant books are listed in the teaching material. In general, the provided teaching material is mainly based on the three books listed below. Each of them can be used to study all the illustrated subjects. The slides of the lectures will be uploaded on Elly every week. To download the slides, the registration to the online course is required. The slides are part of the teaching material but they do not replace the recommended books. Students are invited to periodically check the teaching material available in Elly.
1 – Structural Geology, second edition, Haakon Fossen, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
2 - Earth Structure, second edition, Ben Van der Pluijm e Stephen Marshak. Norton & Company, 2004.
3 - Structural Geology of rocks and regions, third edition, George H. Davis, Stephen J. Reynolds e Charles F. Kluth, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2012.
Lessons and exercises in the classroom and in the field.
Assessment methods and criteria
Both diagnostic (early stages) and formative (intermediate stages) evaluations will be carried out by mean of informal discussions at the end of some lessons.
The final evaluation results from:
1 - written test at the end of the first semester concerning the illustrated theoretical subjects and including exercises on the use of stereographic projections;
2 - written reports on the performed field activity;
3 – oral examination.