It is a region of quiescence or of faulting, but not of folding.
The ranges are primarily the result of faulting and uplifting of large blocks of the earths crust.
The breaking up of Gondwana Land is usually considered to have been caused by a series of blocks of country being let down by faulting with the consequent formation of the Indian Ocean.
There are, it is true, mountain ranges which are formed of folded beds; but in many cases the direction of the chains is different from that of the folds, so that the ranges must owe their elevation to other causes; and the folds, moreover, are of ancient date, for the most part Archaean or Palaeozoic. The configuration of the region is largely due to faulting, trough-like or tray-like depressions being formed, and the intervening strips, which have not been depressed, standing up as mountain ridges.
The faulting which formed the depressions is certainly later than the deposition of the Cretaceous beds and probably belongs to the later portion of the Tertiary era.
Faulting, however, is by no means absent, and some of the faults are of considerable magnitude.
They appear to be associated with faulting upon the inner margin of the chain.
The effect of such folds is often exaggerated by thrusts, and faulting of this sort is prominent in the southern section, where the existence of over-thrusts measured by several miles has been established.
Faulting, probably in Pliocene times, lowered the basaltic plateaus to form the basin of Lough Neagh, leaving the eastern scarp at heights ranging up to 1800 ft.
If the bedding be traced, either in the slates or in the other rocks which accompany them, flexures will be frequently observed (the folding often being of an isoclinal type), while reversed faulting, or thrusting, is usually also conspicuous.
With the renewal of uplift by which the earlier cycle of erosion was interrupted and the present cycle introduced, inequalities of surface due to renewed faulting were again introduced; these still appear as cliffs, of more nearly rectilinear front than the retreating escarpments formed in the previous cycle.
They are peculiar in having their altitude dependent on the depth of revived erosion, instead of the amount of faulting, and they are sometimes topographically reversed, in that the revived scarp overlooks a lowland worn on a weak formation in the upheaved fault-block.
The structure of the region previous to faulting was dependent on long antecedent processes of accumulation and deformation and the surface of the region then was dependent on the amount of erosion suffered in the prefaulting cycle.
When, the region was broken into fault blocks and the blocks were uplifted and tilted, the back slope of each block was a part of the previously eroded surface and the face of the block was a surface of fracture; the present form of the higher blocks is more or less affected by erosion since faulting, while many of the lower blocks have been buried under the waste of the higher ones.
In Western Utah and through most of Nevada many of the blocks exhibit deformed structures, involving folds and faults of relatively ancient (Jurassic) date; so ancient that the moun~ tains then formed by the folding were worn down to the lowland stage of old age before the block-faulting occurred.
This was the result of several conditions, among them the recent development, through warping and faulting and volcanic extrusion, of high lands with more or less considerable slopes.
The sites of deposition varied as the period progressed, for the warping and faulting of the surface, the igneous extrusions, and the deposition of sediments obliterated old basins and brought new ones into existence.
Volcanic activity and faulting on a large scale attended the deforijiation of the closing stages of the Miocene.
This latest and also highest range was formed by tremendous thrusts from the Pacific side, crumpling and folding the ancient sedimentary rocks, which run from the Cambrian to the Cretaceous, and faulting them along overturned folds.
The folding, moreover, is less intense; but in the Dolomites of Tirol there are great outbursts of igneous rock, and faulting has occurred on an extensive scale.
The appearance is strongly suggestive of faulting; and probably the southern margin of the chain lies buried beneath the plain of northern Italy.
Over the greater part of this region the Triassic beds are free from folding and are nearly horizontal, but faulting is by no means absent, especially along the margins of the Bohemian and Rhenish hills.
The north and south direction of the river has been largely determined by faults, though the geologists of the Egyptian Survey are finding that the influence of faulting in determining physical outline has, in some cases, been overestimated.
In general, however, the central area is one of faulting rather than of folding, and the sedimentary beds sometimes lie in troughs formed by faults.
To the south-east of this region a narrow outcrop of Upper Llandovery, Wenlock and Ludlow sandstones and mudstones follows, uncomformably overlying the Llandeilo and Bala rocks, and dipping conformably under the Old Red Sandstone; they extend from Newbridge-on-Wye and Builth through Llangammarch (where there are mineral springs) towards Llandovery, while a tongue of Ludlow rocks brought up by faulting extends from Erwood on the Wye for 8 m.
These mountains, consisting of various sorts of gneiss, intrusive granite and gabbro, have been formed partly by faulting but mainly by erosion, the lines of which have been determined by the presence of faults or the presence of relatively soft rocks.
The folding of the old rocks took place towards the close of the Palaeozoic era; but the faulting to which they owe their present position was probably Tertiary.
Subsequent faulting has caused the subsidence of the greater part of Tyrrhenis, including nearly the whole of the inner zone of the mountain chain, and has left only the outer zones standing as the present Apennines.
In the north the chief movements gave rise to the system of latitudinal folding and faulting of the Moroccan and Algerian Atlas, the last stages being represented by the formation of the Algerian and Moroccan coast-outline and the sundering of Europe from Africa at the Straits of Gibraltar.
There is no continuous band of ancient gneiss, nor indeed of any beds older than the Jurassic. There is very little over-folding or faulting, and the structure is that of the Jura mountains rather than of the Alps.
These were followed by a period of minor tilting and faulting in early Mesozoic, by a moderate upwarping in Tertiary, and by a moderate uplift in post-Tertiary time.