Some naturally folded multilayer sequences show an association of major folds (which develop across the whole multilayer sequence) with localized minor folds (which are restricted to a few layers). The minor folds have highest amplitudes immediately adjacent to a major fold and attenuate rapidly away from that major fold. Analogous geometries have been duplicated in model experiments. Our mechanistic explanation for the initiation of growth of the localized folds uses an elastic beam analysis first put forward by Heteyni and assumes that an important effect of a developing major fold is to impart a localized bending moment on the layers under compression.

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