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Fundamentals of Structural Geology

by David D. Pollard and Raymond C. Fletcher

Published by Cambridge University Press 2005

Hardback, 500 pages
ISBN-10: 0-521-83927-3,
ISBN-13: 978-0-521-83927-0

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Cambridge University Press



David Pollard

David D. Pollard is the Morris Professor of Earth Sciences in the Department of Geological and Envionmental Sciences at Stanford University where he co-directs the program in Structural Geology and Geomechanics. He and his students are using quantitative field data and principles of structural geology, combined with laboratory and computer modeling, to address questions about processes of faulting, fracturing and rock deformation. The research aims to understand how faults and fractures affect the flow of magma, groundwater, and hydrocarbons; and what role fractures play in earthquake generation and volcanic eruption.


Raymond C. Fletcher

Raymond C. Fletcher is a research professor in the Department of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University. He and his collaborators study the continuous deformation of rock as in the emplacement of mantled gneiss domes, rock folding, and basin and range necking. He also works on processes linking chemical aspects of mineral growth or dissolution in rocks and deformation. Currently he is studying folding near the base of ice sheets, and the evolution of structures and rheological behavior of composite rock masses.

References Cited

Chandrasekhar, S., 1979, Beauty and the Quest for Beauty in Science: Physics Today, v. July, p. 25-30.

Farvolden, R. N., and Cherry, J. A., 1991, Opinion: Are geology departments prepared for the 21st century?: GEOLOGY, no. May, p. 419.

Fisher, W. L., 1989, Turning Difficulty into Opportunity: Geotimes, v. November, p. 7-9.


David Pollard would like to acknowledge four teachers who shaped his understanding of structural geology as an undergraduate and graduate student. Donald B. McIntyre of Pomona College provided the spark that ignited his curiosity about the subject and put it in a historical context. Arvid M. Johnson of Stanford University introduced him to the tools of mechanics and to a rational way to approach physical processes in the field and laboratory. John G. Ramsay of Imperial College taught him how to measure deformation in outcrop and investigate the geometry and kinematics of rock subject to ductile deformation. Neville J. Price of Imperial College introduced him to rock mechanics and the analysis of rock subject to brittle deformation. These teachers provided a diversity of viewpoints of structural geology that was fascinating as well as challenging, and the origins of many of the themes played out in this textbook can be traced directly to their classrooms. Arvid Johnson’s role in the formative stages of work on the textbook was particularly important.

David Pollard has been privileged to study with students who were colleagues at Pomona College, Stanford University and Imperial College, and later to work with students in a teaching and advisory capacity at the University of Rochester, the U. S. Geological Survey (Menlo Park), and Stanford University. Many of these students have participated in research that helped to shape the concepts and methods described in this book. They include: Atilla Aydin, Ze’ev Reches, Gary R. Holzhausen, John W. Cosgrove, Otto H. Muller, David R. Dockstader, Paul T. Delaney, Paul Segall, Jon H. Fink, J. Russell Dyer, Russell K. Davies, Peter B. Davies, Laurie L. Erickson, Marie D. Jackson, Peter, C. Wallmann, Stephen J. Martel, Allan M. Rubin, Larry G. Mastin, Jon E. Olson, Sarah D. Saltzer, Scott S. Zeller, Andrew L. Thomas, Carl E. Renshaw, Roland Bürgmann, Pauline M. Mollema, Marco Antonellini, Haiqing Wu, Peter P. Christiansen, Stephan K. Matthäi, Joshua J. Roering, J. Ramón Arrowsmith, George Hilley, Emanuel J. M. Willemse, Michele L. Cooke, Elissa Koenig, Juliet G. Crider, W. Lansing Taylor, Simon A. Kattenhorn, Taixu Bai, Laurent Maerten, Scott S. Young, Frantz Maerten, Stephan Bergbauer, Peter Eichhubl, Phillip G. Resor, Kurt R. Sternlof, Patricia E. Fiore, Ian W. Mynatt, W. Ashley Griffith, Nicolas Bellahsen, Gaurav Chopra, and J. Ole Kaven.

David Pollard thanks John Suppe of Princeton University and Patience A. Cowie of Edinburgh University for hosting sabbaticals that provided important time for development of the materials presented here. He gratefully acknowledges the help of the staff of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences and the Branner Earth Sciences Library at Stanford University. Also, he extends special thanks to the Seeley G. Mudd Science Library at Pomona College and to the National Cello Institute for providing an idyllic venue for preparation of the manuscript.

Raymond Fletcher would like to acknowledge several people who contributed to his education as a structural geologist. William F. Brace (MIT) awarded him a C in the undergraduate structural geology course, giving useful incentive for further study of a subject that Bill’s treatment showed to consist of an intriguing combination of field observation and mechanical analysis. Bill Brace also gave excellent advice on what not to do as a Ph. D. research project prior to the arrival at Brown University of his Ph. D. advisor William M. Chapple. Bill Chapple provided guidance in formulating a tractable complete mechanical model for the emplacement of a gneiss dome and M. A. Jaswon pointed him towards a method of analysis. Interaction with Bill Chapple over many years continued to enrich his experience. The foundation for his understanding of continuum mechanics was provided by the lucid presentation of this subject in a two-semester course at Brown University by E. T. Onat. Arvid M. Johnson introduced him to the disciplined mapping of small-scale structures in the field interspersed with more freewheeling discussions of mechanical modeling. Memorable discussions over coffee and pastry with Bernard Hallet continue to provide him with imaginative ideas, such as treating the Basin-and-Range Province as a string of blood sausages. He has benefited from and enjoyed collaborations with former graduate students Judi Chester, Russell Davies, Jon Fink, George Gazonas, Bill Kilsdonk, Frank Irwin, Duncan Mardon, and Tom Patton.

In our preparation of the textbook figures the authors have have been ably assisted by Virginia C. Pollard, Andrei T. Aron and Sara E. Reed. Lyn Tadena gathered all of the permissions for our use of figures and quotes from other sources. We gratefully acknowledge the dedication, hard work, and computer skills of these persons.

This website was first designed and implemented by Clay Hamilton, Academic Technology Specialist for the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. His knowledge, artistry and patience have made the preparation and maintenance of the site a very rewarding learning experience. His work has now been updated and transferred to this new website.

Stuctural Geology book cover