JOINTS , ingeology . All rocks are traversed more or less completely by vertical or highly inclined divisional planes termed joints . Soft rocks, indeed, such as loose sand and uncompacted
See also:clay, do not show these planes; but even a soft
See also:loam after
See also:standing for some
See also:time, consolidated by its own
See also:weight, will usually be found to have acquired them . Joints vary in sharpness of definition, in the regularity of their perpendicular or
See also:horizontal course, in their lateral persistence, in number and in the directions of their intersections . As a
See also:rule, they are most sharply defined in proportion to the fineness of
See also:grain of the
See also:rock . They are often quite invisible, being merely planes of potential weakness, until revealed by the slow disintegrating effects of the
See also:weather, which induces fracture along their planes in preference to other directions in the rock; it is along the same planes that a rock breaks most readily under the
See also:blow of a
See also:hammer . In coarse-textured rocks, on the other
See also:hand, joints are
See also:apt to show themselves as irregular rents along which the rock has been shattered, so that they
See also:present an uneven sinuous course, branching off in different directions . In many rocks they descend vertically at not very unequal distances, so that the spaces between them are marked off into so many
See also:wall-like masses . But this symmetry often gives place to a more or less tortuous course with lateral joints in various apparently
See also:random directions, more especially where in stratified rocks the beds have diverse lithological characters . A single joint may be tracedsometimes for many yards or even for several
See also:miles, more particularly when the rock is
See also:fine-grained and fairly rigid, as in lime-
See also:stone . Where the texture is coarse and unequal, the joints, though abundant, run into each other in such a way that no one in particular can be identified for so
See also:great a distance . The number of joints in a mass of rock varies within wide limits .
Among rocks which have undergone little disturbance the joints may be separated from each other by intervals of several yards . In other cases where the terrestrial
See also:movement appears to have been considerable, the rocks are so jointed as to have acquired therefrom a fissile character that has almost obliterated their tendency to split along the lines of bedding . The Cause of Jointing in Rocks.—The continual state of movement in the crust of the
See also:earth is the
See also:primary cause of the majority of joints . It is to the outermost layers of the lithosphere that joints are confined; in what
See also:van Hise has described as the " zone of fracture," which he estimates may extend to a
See also:depth of 12,000 metres in the case of rigid rocks . Below the zone of fracture, joints cannot be formed, for there the rocks tend to flow rather than break . The rocky crust, as it slowly accommodates itself to the shrinking interior of the earth, is subjected unceasingly to stresses which induce jointing by tension,
See also:compression and torsion . Thus joints are produced during the slow cyclical movements of
See also:elevation and depression as well as by the more vigorous movements of earthquakes . Tension-joints are the most widely spread; they are naturally most numerous over areas of upheaval . Compression-joints are generally associated with the more intense movements which have involved shearing, minor-faulting and slaty cleavage . A minor cause of tension-jointing is shrinkage, due either to cooling or to desiccation . The most striking type of jointing is that produced by the cooling of igneous rocks, whereby a regularly columnar structure is
See also:developed, often called basaltic structure, such as is found at the
See also:Giant's Cause-way . This structure is described in connexion with
See also:modern volcanic rocks, but it is met with in igneous rocks of all ages .
It is as well displayed among the felsites of the
See also:Lower Old Red
See also:Sandstone, and the basalts of Carboniferous
See also:Limestone age as among the
See also:Tertiary lavas of
See also:Auvergne and Vivarais . This type of jointing may cause the rock to split up into roughly hexagonal prisms no thicker than a lead pencil; on the other hand, in many dolerites and diorites the prisms are much coarser, having a diameter of 3 ft. or more, and they are more irregular in
See also:form; they may be so long as to extend up the
See also:face of a cliff for 300 or 400 ft . A columnar jointing has often been superinduced upon stratified rocks by contact with intrusive igneous masses . Sandstones, shales and
See also:coal may be observed in this
See also:condition . The columns diverge perpendicularly from the
See also:surface of the injected altering substance, so that when the latter is vertical, the columns are horizontal; or when it undulates the columns follow its curvatures . Beautiful examples of this character occur among the coal-seams of
See also:Ayrshire . Occasionally a prismatic form of jointing may be observed in unaltered strata; in this case it is usually among those which have been chemically formed, as in
See also:gypsum, where, as noticed by
See also:Jukes in the
See also:Basin, some beds are divided from top to bottom by vertical hexagonal prisms . Desiccation, as shown by the cracks formed in mud when it dries, has probably been instrumental in causing jointing in a limited number of cases among stratified rocks . Movement along Joint Planes.—In some conglomerates the joints may be seen traversing the enclosed pebbles as well as the surrounding
See also:matrix; large blocks of hard
See also:quartz are cut through by them as sharply as if they had been sliced by a
See also:lapidary's machine . A similar phenomenon may be observed in flints as they lie embedded in the
See also:chalk, and the same joints may be traced continuously through many yards of rock . Such facts show that the agency to which the jointing of rocks was due must have operated with consider-able force . Further indication of movement is supplied by the rubbed and striated surfaces of some joints .
These surfaces, termed slickensides, have evidently been ground against each other .Influence of Joints on
See also:Water -flow and Scenery.—Joints form natural paths for the passage downward and upward of subterranean water and have an important bearing upon water supply . Water obtained directly from highly jointed rock is more liable to become contaminated by surface impurities than that from a more compact rock through which it has had to soak its way; for this reason many lime-stones are objected to as
See also:sources of potable water . On exposed surfaces joints have great influence in determining the
See also:rate and type of weathering . They furnish an effective lodgment for surface water, which, frozen by lowering of temperature, expands into ice and wedges off blocks of the rock; and the more numerous the joints the more rapidly does the
See also:action proceed . As they serve, in conjunction with bedding, to
See also:divide stratified rocks into large quadrangular blocks, their effect on cliffs and other exposed places is seen in the splintered and dislocated aspect so
See also:familiar in
See also:mountain scenery . Not infrequently, by directing the initial activity of weathering agents, joints have been responsible for the course taken by large streams as well as for the type of scenery on their
See also:banks . In lime-stones, which succumb readily to the solvent action of water, the joints are liable to be gradually enlarged along the course of the under-ground waterflow until caves are formed of great
See also:size and intricacy . Infilled Joints.—Joints which have been so enlarged by solution are sometimes filled again completely or partially by minerals brought thither in solution by the water traversing the rock;
See also:barytes and ores of lead and copper may be so deposited . In this way many valuable
See also:veins have been formed . Widened joints may also be filled in by detritus from the surface, or, in deep-seated portions of the crust, by heated igneous rock, forced from below along the planes of least resistance . Occasionally even sedimentary rocks may be forced up joints from below, as in the case of the so-called " sandstone dykes."
See also:Practical Utility of Joints.—An important feature in the joints of stratified rocks is the direction in which they intersect each other .
As the result of observations we learn that they possess two dominant trends, one coincident in ageneral way with the direction in which the strata are inclined to the
See also:horizon, the other
See also:running transversely approximately at right angles . The former set is known as dip-joints, because they run with the dip or inclination of the rocks, the latter is termed strike-joints, inasmuch as they conform to the general strike or mean outcrop . It is owing to the existence of this
See also:double series of joints that ordinary
See also:quarrying operations can be carried on . Large quadrangular blocks can be wedged off that would be shattered if exposed to the
See also:risk of
See also:blasting . A
See also:quarry is usually worked on the dip of the rock, hence strike-joints form clean-cut Joints in Limestone Quarry near
See also:Mallow, co .
See also:Cork . (G . V . Du Noyer.) faces in front of the workmen as they advance . These are known as backs, and the dip-joints which
See also:traverse them as cutters . The way in which this double set of joints occurs in a quarry may be seen in the figure, where the parallel lines which traverse the shaded and unshaded faces mark the successive strata . The broad
See also:white spaces running along the length of the quarry behind the seated figure are strike-joints or backs, traversed by some highly inclined lines which mark the position of the dip-joints or cutters .
The shaded ends looking towards the spectator are cutters from which the rock has been quarried away on oneside . In crystalline (igneous) rocks, bedding is absent and very often there is no horizontal jointing to take its place; the joint planes break up the mass more irregularly than in stratified rocks . Granite, for example, is usually traversed by two sets of chief or
See also:master joints cutting each other somewhat obliquely . Their effect is to divide the rock into long quadrangular, rhomboidal, or even polygonal columns . But a third set may often be noticed cutting across the columns, though less continuous and dominant than the others . When these transverse joints are few in number, columns many feet in length can be quarried out entire . Such monoliths have been from early times employed in the construction of obelisks and pillars . (J . A .
JOINT (through Fr. from Lat. junctum, jungere, to j...
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