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In structural geology, an allochthon, or an allochthonous block, is a large block of rock which has been moved from its original site of formation, usually by low angle thrust faulting. An allochthon which is isolated from the rock that pushed it into position is called a klippe. If an allochthon has a "hole" in it so that one can view the autochthon beneath the allochthon, the hole is called a "window" (or Fenster). Etymology: Greek; 'allo' = other, and 'chthon' = earth.
In limnology, allochthonous sources of carbon or nutrients come from outside the aquatic system (such as plant and soil material). Carbon sources from within the system, such as algae and the microbial breakdown of particulate organic carbon, are autochthonous. In streams and small lakes, allochthonous sources of carbon are dominant while in large lakes and the ocean, autochthonous sources dominate.
The term "allochthonous" is also used in the social sciences, as the opposite to autochthonous.
- Eby, G.N., 2004, Principles of Environmental Geochemistry: Thomson Brooks/Cole, Pacific Grove, CA., 514 pp.
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