During mountain building, rocks became highly deformed, and the primary objective of structural geology is to elucidate the mechanism of formation of the many types of structures (e.g., folds and faults) that arise from such deformation. The allied field of geophysics has several subdisciplines, which make use of different instrumental techniques. Seismology, for example, involves the exploration of the Earth’s deep structure through the detailed analysis of recordings of elastic waves generated by earthquakes and man-made explosions. Earthquake seismology has largely been responsible for defining the location of major plate boundaries and of the dip of subduction zones down to depths of about 700 kilometres at those boundaries. In other subdisciplines of geophysics, gravimetric techniques are used to determine the shape and size of underground structures; electrical methods help to locate a variety of mineral deposits that tend to be good conductors of electricity; and paleomagnetism has played the principal role in tracking the drift of continents.

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