GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fault types. Artwork illustrating the major types of geological fault. Faults occur where the upper part of the Earth's crust breaks due to the stress of processes such as continental drift. A fault produced by stretching is called a normal fault (left). A fault produced when the crust is pushed together is called a reverse fault (centre). A fault where the two pieces of crust slide against each other is called a strike-slip fault (right). If the stress on a fault causes sudden breaking, the masses of rock on either side can move rapidly, producing an earthquake. Most active (earthquake-causing) faults are found along the boundaries of tectonic plates.
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