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Chapter 5
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Chapter 5: Deformation and Flow

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Structural geologists think about deformation and flow as an inverse problem: from the current state back towards some (undeformed) initial state. For example, the lower right photograph in the frontispiece for this chapter shows deformed oöids with elliptical shapes: ratios of long to short axes are about 1.56 (Cloos, 1947, 1971). The upper left photograph shows nearly undeformed oöids with approximately circular shapes: ratios of long to short axes are about 1.16. One can think of the deformed oöids being transformed back towards an initial state much like that of the nearly undeformed oöids. Considerable insight can be obtained from the formulation of a forward problem. Field observations of many sorts, including the deformed shapes of objects such as oöids, may be selected to constrain a forward model built upon a synthesis of controlled laboratory experimental data on the behavior of rock materials and theoretical investigations of deformation and failure.