The Earth is a very complex physico-chemical system, even when attention is restricted to its mechanical properties alone. It is also a restless system. Surface features such as the distribution of continents and oceans, the presence of mountain belts and deep-sea trenches, and the relative altitude of different regions bear witness to large-scale horizontal and vertical movements that have occurred in the geological past. The textures of rocks, and the existence of fractures and flow structures at all scales down to the microscopic level, indicate that these large-scale movements have affected earth materials in a pervasive fashion. The occurrence of phenomena such as slow vertical movements and tilting of the surface, rock creep of all sorts, and earthquakes, shows that the same processes are active at present.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Ranalli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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