what is fault in geography

The fault is a crack or fracture on the earth’s crust due to the displacement of rock due to earth movement. Faulting is the process that leads to the occurrence of the fault. Tension force leads to the formation which leads to the formation of normal fault while the compression force leads to the formation of reverse fault.

The following are landforms that can result from the faulting process. 

Block mountains.

This is a raised highland, a fault-bordered block that occurs due to the raising up of the block during faulting. Uplifted or raised blocks may be tilted to form a tilted block or maybe horizontal to form Horst. Example of block mountains includes mountain such as the black forest in Germany and Ruwenzori in Uganda.

Rift valley

it is a major landform, resulting from the lowering of a relatively narrow strip of rock between parallel faults. The most impressive rift valley system in the world is the great rift valley of Africa which extends for over 7600 km from near Beira in Mozambique to the gulf of Aqaba into Jordan.. rift valley can be formed by both tension and compression forces. 

Fault steps.

These form when a series of parallel faults develop in the region and land between these faults is uplifted at different levels. The landscape forms a series of fault scarp that looks like steps. a good example can be seen at Kijabe west of Nairobi and the Malawi rift

Basins and plateaus.

These features result from the warping o the earth’s crust. Uplifted areas due to wrapping which have a high level of undulating landforms are called plateaus while depressed areas form basins. Examples of plateaus and basins include the Lake Victoria basin in East Africa  Deccan plateau and the Bolivian plateau

To sum up, the faulting process  is one of the processes of endogenic geomorphology and is caused by things like tectonic plate movement, earthquake, and volcanic eruption

importance of faulting

like any other tectonic process, faulting poses both benefits and problems to people. here are the importance or benefits of faulting:

  • block mountain leads to formation of relief rainfall on the wind ward side which benefits the farmers
  • springs that occur at the foot of the fault scarp attract settlements
  • faulting leads to development of beautiful landforms such as rift valleys, escarpment and block mountains which attract tourists
  • faulting creates deep cracks which may create passages for steam jets from underground which can be exploited for geothermal power.
  • faulting may cause the displacement of rocks which may expose minerals
  • faulting leads to the formation of rift valleys which becomes the sites of lakes such as lake tanganyika in tanzania and lake malawi which are located in the great rift valley of east africa
  • lakes formed due to faulting can become important fishing grounds

negative effects or disadvantages of faulting

  • when faulting occurs, deep cracks formed may hinder development of transport routes
  • displacement of rocks by faulting creates steep scarp slope and deep valleys which makes it difficult to build settlement and grow crops
  • steep slopes make it difficult to construct roads, railways,pipes and power lines
  • deep narrow valleys created by faults are often dry and create natural drought
  • faulting cause crustal instability which leads to occurance of earthquake and volcanoes which are more harzadous to human life


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