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A perspective on the emergence of modern structural geology: Celebrating the feedbacks between historical-based and process-based approaches

By
Basil Tikoff
Basil Tikoff
Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1215 W. Dayton Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA
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Thomas Blenkinsop
Thomas Blenkinsop
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD4811, Australia
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Seth C. Kruckenberg
Seth C. Kruckenberg
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD4811, Australia
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Sven Morgan
Sven Morgan
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan 48859, USA
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Julie Newman
Julie Newman
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA
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Steven Wojtal
Steven Wojtal
Department of Geology, Oberlin College, 52 W. Lorain Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074, USA
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Published:
September 01, 2013

Structural geology has emerged as an integrative, synthetic science in the past 50 years, focused on deciphering the history preserved in the rock record and determining the processes of rock deformation. Owing to the nature of structural geology, studies focus on historical elements, such as structural inheritance and tectonic history, and increasingly involve theoretical, process-based approaches. The strength of the field is that it uses these historical- and process-based approaches simultaneously in order to determine the three-dimensional architecture, kinematic evolution, and dynamic conditions of lithospheric deformation over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.

In this contribution we focus on significant progress made in understanding shear zones, fault zones, intrusions, and migmatites, both as individual features and as systems. Intrinsic to these advances are insights into the strain history, specifically through the temporal evolution of geologic structures. Increasingly sophisticated geochronological techniques have advanced the field of modern structural geology by allowing age determinations to be linked to rock microstructure and deformational fabrics, from which displacement rates and strain rates can be estimated in some settings. Structural studies involving new approaches (e.g., trenching), and integrated with geomorphology and geodesy, have been applied to study active geologic structures in near surface settings. Finally, significant progress has been made in constraining the rheology of naturally deformed rocks. These studies generally rely on results of experimental deformation, with microstructural analyses providing the connection between naturally deformed rocks and results of experiments. Integration of field-based observations, laboratory-derived rheological information, and numerical models provide significant opportunities for future work, and continues the tradition of simultaneously using historical- and process-based approaches.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

The Web of Geological Sciences: Advances, Impacts, and Interactions

Marion E. Bickford
Marion E. Bickford
Department of Earth Sciences, 204 Heroy Geology Laboratory, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244-1070, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
500
ISBN print:
9780813725000
Publication date:
September 01, 2013

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