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No. 31: Jan-Feb 1984

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Thin-skinned tectonics

In many regions of the world, older rocks are superimposed on top of younger rocks, just the opposite from what is expected. The usual explanation is that the layers of older rocks were thrust parallel to the bedding planes over the top of the layers of younger rock, sometimes for hundreds of miles. So numerous are these instances of inverted strata that a new branch of geology called Thin-Skinned Tectonics is arising to handle them.

The present article deals with the complex stratigraphy in the Western Arbuckle Mountains in southern Oklahoma. Here are located many examples of old-on-young rock as well as completely inverted stratigraphic members. Much at-tention is paid to the evidence of sliding between beds (breccia, small overfolds, etc.). Some excellent photos of these contact planes are presented.

(Phillips, Eric H.; "Gravity Slide Thrusting and Folded Faults in Western Arbuckle Mountains and Vicinity, Southern Oklahoma," American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Bulletin, 67:1363, 1983.)

Comment. Some extensive thrust faults do not show as much evidence of horizontal sliding as those in the Western Arbuckles. Scientific creationists use such examples as evidence that the geological time scale, as determined by the fossil contents of the rocks, is all mixed up.

From Science Frontiers #31, JAN-FEB 1984. � 1984-2000 William R. Corliss