Siever, Raymond Formerly, Department of Geology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Additional Readings
Irregular surfaces occurring in certain rocks, mostly parallel to bedding planes, in which small toothlike projections on one side of the surface fit into cavities of like shape on the other side (see illustration). A cross section of a typical stylolite would be similar to a profile of a series of high ridges and low valleys with many of the peaks and valleys being about the same amplitude. Stylolites are most common in limestones and dolomites but are also present in many other kinds of rock, including sandstones, gypsum beds, and cherts. Along almost all stylolite seams there is a thin layer of clay, quartz silt, or iron oxides, highly insoluble materials as compared with the rock proper. The amplitudes of the peaks and valleys range from a few millimeters to many centimeters.
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