Christie, John M. Plant Science Group, Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom.
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The systematic study of the fabrics of rocks, generally involving statistical study of the orientations and distributions of large numbers of fabric elements. The term fabric denotes collectively all the structural or spatial characteristics of a rock mass. The fabric elements are classified into two groups: (1) megascopic features, including bedding, schistosity, foliation, cleavage, faults, joints, folds, and mineral lineations; and (2) microscopic features, including the shapes, orientations, and mutual arrangement of the constituent mineral crystals (texture) and of internal structures (twin lamellae, deformation bands, and so on) inside the crystals. The aim of fabric analysis is to obtain as complete and accurate a description as possible of the structural makeup of the rock mass with a view to elucidating its kinematic history. The fabric of a sedimentary rock, for example, may retain evidence of the mode of transport, deposition, and compaction of the sediment in the size, shape, and disposition of the particles; similarly, that of an igneous rock may reflect the nature of the flow or of gravitational segregation of crystals and melt during crystallization. The fabrics of deformed metamorphic rocks (tectonites) have been most extensively studied by petrofabric techniques with the objective of determining the details of the history of deformation and recrystallization. See also: Fault and fault structures; Fold and fold systems; Structural geology; Structural petrology
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