Joint (geology)

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Joint sets on a plane of flagstones, Scotland

In geology, a joint is a fracture dividing rock into two sections that have not moved away from each other. A joint sees little or no displacement. In other kinds of fracturing, like in a fault, the rock is parted by a visible crack that forms a gap in the rock.

Joints push out in various directions, usually vertically. They can have smooth, clean surfaces, or they can be scarred from sliding against another joint. Joints usually occur as sets, with each set made up of joints that are parallel to each other.[1]

Joints become more and more obvious when the rock is weathered (eroded by the elements). When water gets into the joints, this can lead to the formation of big caves and underground rivers.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Engelder, T. & Geiser, P. 1980. On the use of regional joint sets as trajectories of paleostress fields during development of the Appalachian Plateau, New York. Journal of Geophysical Research, 85, B11, 6319-6341.
  2. "Joint (geology)". Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/305597/joint. Retrieved 15 March 2012.