Difference Between Folding and Faulting

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 6, 2022, 11:32

Folding and faulting are geological terms. A bend in the strata of rock is known as folding, whereas faulting is referred to as a fracture in a rock due to its displacement and movement. Although these two terms are often mistaken to denote the same thing, the basic Difference Between Folding and Faulting is that the former occurs during a permanent deformation of the rock, whereas the latter is because of simpler movements and displacements.

What is the Folding and Faulting?

Folding and Faulting are two of the most important concepts in geophysics and also help in the location of earthquake zones. Both of these concepts help in the formation of important structures, like river valleys and mountain ranges. In fact, the Himalayan Range is a result of the folding, while river valleys like the Tapi Valley have been formed due to the faulting of rocks over the ages.

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Major Difference Between Folding and Faulting

To delve deeper into the subject and learn about these two geological terms in detail, a table below showcases the major Difference Between Folding and Faulting.

SL No.FoldingFaulting
1.Bends in rocks are called folds when they are resultant of compressional forces.Tensional forces created due to the displacement or movement of rocks are known as faults.
2.When compressional forces act on inherently flexible or ductile rocks, folds appear.Folds are fissures that appear when forces are applied in the opposite direction to displace or move the rock.
3.Folds generally occur on rocks that lie deep inside the earth's crust and are under higher pressure than those lying on the upper surfaces. These tend to increase their flexibility and make the rocks more susceptible to folding than breaking.

Faulting generally occurs on the layers of rocks that are located near the earth's surface. These rocks are not confined under great pressure and are too rigid to get folds. Besides, rocks tend to break if the tectonic plates are on the larger side.

4.Numerous types of stress may give rise to folds in rocks. Temperature gradient and pore pressure are two of the most prominent reasons for folding in rocks.Faulting is often the result of nominal dip-slip faults. When the rocks compress against each other vertically, some rocks tend to move downwards due to the compression, thus, causing them to break.
5.Shortening of existing layers of rocks commonly causes folding. However, sometimes the displacement on non-planner faults may also cause the rocks to fold.A rock's fracture surface is known as the fault plane. Meanwhile, a fault line or trace is the particular location of the fault or where the fault is visible.
6.When looked at from a perpendicular stance, a fold can be divided into two parts - hinge and limb. The former is the point of convergence of limbs, whereas the latter is the fold's flanks.A cluster of faults lying parallel to each other is known as a fault zone. However, this term is also used to designate the area of crushed rock alongside one fault.
7.While minor folds are visible in outcrops, major folds are seen mostly in arid regions.All faults have measurable thickness though the intensity of the fault can vary depending on the types, characteristics, and nature of the rocks.
8.Most mountain ranges, such as the Alps and the Himalayas, have resulted from rock folding.River valleys and block mountains are formed due to faulting. For example, the Narmada and the Tapi valleys.

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FAQs on the Difference Between Folding and Faulting

Q.1. What is the Major Difference Between Folding and Faulting?

The Major Difference Between Folding and Faulting is that the former occurs during a permanent deformation of the rock, whereas the latter results from simpler movements and displacements.

Q.2. Give some examples denoting the Difference Between Folding and Faulting.

An example of folding is the formation of mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Himalayas. In contrast, examples of faulting are the formation of river valleys and block mountains such as the Tapi and Narmada valleys. These showcase the Difference Between Folding and Faulting.

Q.3. In which subject can one study the Difference Between Folding and Faulting?

The Difference Between Folding and Faulting can be studied in geology.

Q.4. Where do faults and folds appear - enumerate the Difference Between Folding and Faulting?

A fault generally appears on the rocks lying closer to the earth's surface, while a fold generally appears on rocks lying deeper within the earth's crust. This is one of the main Difference Between Folding and Faulting.