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Nonconformity Geology: Definition, Examples, and Comparison with Disconformity

Unconformity has three types known as Nonconformity, Disconformity and Angular unconformity.

To understand the concept of nonconformity in the rock formation, it is important to mention the basic types of contacts between the rock layers.

There are three basic types of layer contacts known as Unconformities. When there are transitions between the layers in a particular gap of time, the layer formation changes and the intermediate layer vanishes gradually. It happens in millions of years and the rocks produced at different times are pushed jointly. It seems to form the one rock. During the study of the rock structure, it can be analyzed well and so, the structure of two rocks pushing together now as a one can be understood.

There are three types of Unconformity known as Disconformity, angular unconformity and nonconformity. Let me explain all of them before moving to nonconformity examples.

Disconformity: When the sediment layers are eroded, new sediment comes into existence on top of the layers. The new sediment pushes the intermediate layer. The layers lie parallel to each other and in a particular sequence. Besides, the age of two rock layers can be measured easily. It is called a disconformity.

Angular Unconformity:  When the older rock has a different attitude than the younger rock, and the beds on the older rock are truncated, it is known as an angular unconformity. The layers of the rocks in such unconformity are paralleled to each other roughly. They are not in a proper sequence. However, it is easily recognizable.

Nonconformity Geology: It is one of the three basic types of Unconformity Geology. In two rocks, the erosional contacts lying parallel to the surfaces of both the rocks are known as a nonconformity.

In other words, suppose, you are studying two rocks: sedimentary and metamorphic. The lower rock is metamorphic and 600 million years old and the upper rock is sedimentary and 400 million years old. You cannot differentiate between the ages of both the rocks. Even you cannot differentiate between them due to their material and structure. The only difference you will see the erosional contacts lying between both of them.

It is easier to recognize nonconformity if the nonconformity occurs on igneous/metamorphic rocks. The sedimentary rocks are layered whereas; igneous rocks do not come in layers. The minerals, metamorphic texture and a closer examination of the structure of rocks will enable you to recognize nonconformity. Let me explain via an example of how to recognize nonconformity between two rocks. The very thin layer of erosions between the younger and metamorphic rock makes them separate and it cannot be recognized easily. You can recognize it only if there are fossils between the two rocks. The layer of fossils between them can differentiate the ages of the rocks and can draw a clear difference line between them.

Nonconformity VS Disconformity

Shortly, a nonconformity occurs when sedimentary rock is lying on metamorphic rock. The contact between them can be easily recognized due to the different structure of both the rocks. The igneous rock will not come in layers whereas; the sedimentary rock is layered. The close examination of the layers will enable you to recognize the difference between them.

A disconformity occurs when two sediment rocks lie together in parallel position but they have quite different ages. Let say! One rock will be 200 million years old and the other one is 400 million years old. So, the difference between both the layers can be judged easily. The paleosol formation of the rocks shows a clear disconformity in them.

Here are a few examples of nonconformity in rocks. See below the images.

Nonconformity in Rock Formation

nonconformity in rock formation

See the image above for nonconformity in the rock formation. It is clearly visible in the structure of the rocks that sedimentary rock is paralleled to the igneous rock and how the formation seems in two different patterns. The pattern can be differentiated only in the presence of fossils in the igneous rock.

Disconformity in Rock Formation

Disconformity in rocks

Here, the parallel rocks and their patterns are visible. You can easily recognize the structure of each rock. You can easily examine the sediment rocks lying parallel to differentiate their ages.

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