Thick-skinned Deformation - Causes


Thick-skinned deformation is most commonly a result of crustal shortening and occurs when the region is undergoing horizontal compression. This frequently occurs in at the sites of continental collisions where orogenesis, or mountain building, is taking place and during which the crust is shortened horizontally and thickened vertically. The massive compressional forces involved in such a collision cause the basement rock and all of the units above it to deform. Deformation occurs in the form of both folds and thrust faults and may form a fold and thrust belt along the collisional zone or as crustal flow.

At convergent plate boundaries two plates move towards each other as one is subducted downwards beneath the other but when the crust of two continents meet at a convergent zone neither one of them will be subducted due to their low density. As the two continents are pushed together by tectonic processes a large amount of strain is put on the rock. Eventually deformation will occur in one or multiple ways in order to relieve the strain.

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