Fold (geology)

In structural geology, a fold is a stack of originally planar surfaces, such as sedimentary strata, that are bent or curved during permanent deformation. Folds in rocks vary in size from microscopic crinkles to mountain-sized folds. They occur as single isolated folds or in periodic sets (known as fold trains). Synsedimentary folds are those formed during sedimentary deposition.

Folds of alternate layers of limestone and chert occur in Greece. The limestone and chert were originally deposited as flat layers on the floor of a deep sea basin. These folds were created by Alpine deformation.

Folds form under varied conditions of stress, pore pressure, and temperature gradient, as evidenced by their presence in soft sediments, the full spectrum of metamorphic rocks, and even as primary flow structures in some igneous rocks. A set of folds distributed on a regional scale constitutes a fold belt, a common feature of orogenic zones. Folds are commonly formed by shortening of existing layers, but may also be formed as a result of displacement on a non-planar fault (fault bend fold), at the tip of a propagating fault (fault propagation fold), by differential compaction or due to the effects of a high-level igneous intrusion e.g. above a laccolith.

Kink band folds in the Permian of New Mexico, USA
Rainbow Basin syncline in the Barstow Formation near Barstow, California

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