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Folding in geological structures

Folds are a common feature of stratified rock. They have intrigued geologists for ages, and to this day there are many aspects of geological folding that are not well understood. The pictures shown on this page show a small selection of the tremendous variety in forms and structures. Besides being of intrinsic academic interest, folds are also commonly associated with valuable minerals, and the mining industry keeps a keen eye on theoretical developments.

In our work on folds in rock we started looking at single-layer folding, partly because of the simpler modelling. Single-layer folding assumes a situation where a single layer of one material is embedded in a large homogeneous mass of some other material. This leads to the model of a strut on a foundation, and we looked at both an elastic strut on an elastic foundation and an elastic strut on a viscous foundation.

The elastic strut on a viscous foundation

Multilayer folding

However, while visiting the cliffs of Cornwall we felt that there was another kind of folding that also allowed for some simplified modelling. We saw what is known as multilayer folding, where many layers bend and fold in a `similar' manner.
Last modified on March 25, 2012 by Mark Peletier