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Earth Geology Rock Structures


Rock Structures in and around the Bryant Watershed 

  Structural features in the rocks of the Bryant watershed and surrounding areas include joints, faults and folds. Joints are simple breaks or cracks in the rocks. Faults are breaks in the rocks along which one side has moved relative to the other. Folds occur when rock layers are bent and deformed. 

The study of structures in rocks is important for several reasons. One of the most important is the search for mineral resources. Faults and folds in the rock are common traps and localizers for petroleum and ore minerals. 

A second reason for studying structures is their connection to earthquakes. Faults are breaks in the rock where movement of the rocks has occurred. When rocks break and move, the earth shakes as the energy is released. The faults of the Bryant area are all considered to be inactive. However the proximity of the New Madrid fault zone in the southeast corner of Missouri is reason enough to make the study of even inactive faults important. 

The patterns formed by the streams channels in the watershed are not random. The structure of the underlying rocks plays an important part in controlling the locations of the stream channels and also the locations of the underground streams and caves that are so common in the area. Thus the general texture of the watershed is due in part to the structures in the bedrock. 

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