How rocks deform

  • Exhibition Text

    • Rocks seem to be rigid and unyielding, but given enough time, they can change shape, and even flow. Unlike cold, brittle rocks, hot rocks under pressure are ductile — they flow and deform like putty. The dramatic folds exposed on mountainsides and in the samples in this exhibit were created when rocks were deformed in this way. Similar folds are forming today, deep in the roots of mountains.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Earth Formation/Evolution

      Keywords: Rock deformation, Rocks

      Audience: General

In This Section

A fold in a rock

A fold in a rock

This rock illustrates how seemingly brittle material can flow, given enough time and heat.

Deformed rocks

Deformed rocks

When rocks are compressed, they deform by bending and folding.