Fold (geology)

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Description:
The term fold is used in geology when one or a stack of originally flat and planar surfaces, such as sedimentary strata, are bent or curved as a result of permanent deformation. Synsedimentary folds are those due to slumping of sedimentary material before it is lithified. Folds in rocks vary in size from microscopic crinkles to mountain-sized folds. They occur singly as isolated folds and in extensive fold trains of different sizes, on a variety of scales.Folds form under varied conditions of stress, hydrostatic pressure, pore pressure, and temperature - hydrothermal 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.

Describing folds

Folds are classified by their size, fold shape, tightness, dip of the axial plane.

For a discussion of fold nomenclature, see for example,

Fold terminology in two dimensions

Looking at a fold surface in profile the fold can be divided into hinge and limb portions. The limbs are the...
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