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Associated with volcanism and tectonism is faulting. Faulting is a result of the same crustal stresses and strains which produce tectonism or volcanism. As the Earth's crust is extended during the seafloor spreading process, or deformed in the subduction process, the rocky material of which it is made will fracture.
As shown in this picture of stress fractures in the windows of the buildings, when an object is forced to go in a direction it was not meant to go, it may fracture along the weakest lines of stress. These fractures are called "faults". In the Earth, differing patterns of faulting provide evidence of the deformation or extension the crust is undergoing.
Types of fracturing and faulting are given below:
- normal faulting,
- strike/slipfaulting, of which the San Andreas Fault is a good example
- horst/graben faulting, or continental rifting
Other kinds of faulting include transform faults, imbricate faulting, tension fracturing, and buckle folding. These kinds of faulting are indications of differing deformation patterns.
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