Osberg, Philip H. Department of Geological Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.
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A block of the Earth's crust commonly consisting of crystalline gneisses and schists, the textural appearance of which is generally markedly different from that of the surrounding rocks. Common usage indicates that a massif has limited areal extent and considerable topographic relief. Structurally, a massif may form the core of an anticline or may be a block bounded by faults or even unconformities. In any case, during the final stages of its development a massif acts as a relatively homogeneous tectonic unit which to some extent controls the structures that surround it. Numerous complex internal structures may be present; many of these are not related to its development as a massif but are the mark of previous deformations.
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