What Is The Difference Between A Joint And A Fault

When rocks break in response to stress, the resulting break is called a fracture.

If rocks on one side of the break shift relative to rocks on the other side, then the fracture is a fault.

If there is no movement of one side relative to the other, and if there are many other fractures with the same orientation, then the fractures are joints.

Joints with a common orientation make up a joint set.

There is a good difference between the faults and joints. When rocks break responding to the stress, the fracture is the resulting point.

So, a fracture takes place when rocks break in response to the stress. The fracture can either become a fault or a joint.

  1. Joint:When there is nil movement from one side of the fracture to another, the fracture is the joint. If the fracture remains within the same orientation, the fracture will be When there are many joints in a common orientation, these joints are popularly known as the joint set.
  2. Fault:It is quite easy to spot the fault on the fractures. When a rock moves to the other side of the break, the fracture is the fault. Faults are visible from far as there remains a far distance over the soil.

So, the difference between a joint and a fault is evident. The differences between the joints and faults are below:

1. The Size

The main difference between the joint and fault is the size. The joints are quite smaller in comparison to the faults.

Joints occur in all types of rock formations, but faults do not occur in all formations of rock.

2. The Visibility

Joints look similar to hairline cracks that are not noticeable enough. When a person sees joints from distance, they are not capable of viewing them from the distance.

There are also faults that look oversized, which extend up to many miles.

Over thousands of years, dirt has formed on the earth’s crust. It may also not be possible to watch the fault lines.

However, scientists explain the presence of fault lines under the soil.

3. The Displacement

Besides visibility and size, scientists also emphasize the displacement that results from the rock’s movement.

Joints have minimum movement as joints do not cause separate rock formations. Faults are quite different because tectonic forces cause the formation of faults.

The tectonic forces influence the faults as they are vulnerable to the lateral movement.

There occurs much displacement movement of the faults, which either goes upwards, downwards or sideways.

These movements of faults are the direct causes of earthquakes mostly.

4. The formation

Another greater difference between the joint and fault is how they are formed. When a rock stretches to its breaking point, the joint gets formed.

It happens because dirt accumulates over the formation of rock for an extended period.

It also adds to its overall size and mass which forces the rock to break apart. Thus, joint forms.

On the other hand, the faults form due to the constant movement going on under the crust of Earth.

So, if a place, mountain, or rock has too many faults, the place becomes vulnerable to the earthquake.

5. The Threat

Another great difference between a joint and a fault is that faults pose a great threat to human civilization.

Faults pose a great danger to humans as they are the most impactful movers.

These threats materialized recently when plates moved in the pacific ring of Fire over one another.

These waves caused a huge earthquake that had hit Japan, causing the tsunami subsequently.

It had affected a good many countries around the world.

Joints do not offer this threat. Joints form into uniform sets in multiple parts of the world.

What Is The Main Difference Between A Joint And A Fault?

The main difference between the joint and fault relates with their formation.

Their formation processes give birth to other discrepancies such as size, displacement, and visibility.

Fault and joint are two different terms related tothe formation of the rock. When rocks move irregularly under the Earth’s crust, fault forms.

However, joint forms when rocks move in the same orientation.

What Is The Difference Between Joint And Fracture?

The main difference between a joint and a fracture is that a joint occurs as a fracture.

The fracture is the general phenomenon that explains the joint.

The fracture is a wide term that encompasses multiple types of breaks of rocks. Joint is one of such classified breaks.

How Joints Are Formed?

The majority of joints form when the overall stress regime is one tension.

The tension pulls apart without compressing. When joints form, the tension is similar to the cooling of volcanic rock.

Joints may also occur when a body of rock expands.

There are also exfoliation joints. These joints appear as if sheets flake off.

These exfoliation joints take place when a rocking body expands responding to reduced pressure.

For instance, joints form when overlaying rock gets eroded.

What Is The Difference Between A Reverse Fault And A Thrust Fault?

The reverse faults are near the vertical, which are steeply dipping. A thrust fault is near to the horizontal.

45 degrees is a common cut-off that lies between two different types of faults.

There is also a more important difference which is related to continental crust.

The thrust faults enable entire thick slivers of continental crust that override each other.


In conclusion, we may say that two types of racks form in the earth’s crust – fault and joint. Both fault and joints are the discontinuities or fractures under the crust of Earth.

Size is a greater difference between fault and joint in which joint is always smaller in size than a fault.

Fault keeps occurring all the time due to tectonic movements.

However, joints take place when rock stretch to their utmost breaking point.


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