• Henrik Hargitai
  • Paul K. Byrne
  • Jarmo Korteniemi
Living reference work entry


Any surface along which material cohesion is lost. The term is commonly used for discontinuities of any kind, both tectonic and non-tectonic. The term fracture is also selectively applied to the smallest of tectonic displacement types, e.g., smaller than a fissure or a graben on Venus, or smaller than a ridge or a band on Europa, or as a synonym of joint (Singhal and Gupta 2010), where very little or no visible displacement is observed (International Society for Rock Mechanics 1977). Those fractures that show a distinct separation and that are associated with volcanic processes are often called fissures.


Break; Crack; Discontinuity (International Society for Rock Mechanics 1977)

Related Terms



It is a descriptive term for a planar or curviplanar feature that separates a material body into two or more parts.


Fractures can be characterized in several different ways, for example, by their number of sets, orientation (strike and dip),...


Shear Fracture Fracture Network Extensional Fracture Columnar Joint Salt Diapir 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrik Hargitai
    • 1
  • Paul K. Byrne
    • 2
  • Jarmo Korteniemi
    • 3
  1. 1.Planetary Science Research GroupEövös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Lunar and Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research AssociationHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Earth and Space Physics, Department of PhysicsUniversity of OuluOuluFinland