A reverse fault is a type of dip-slip fault that is formed by compression between two sections of rock. It differs from a normal fault, one that is formed by the stretching of the rock, in that the hanging wall is pushed over the footwall.
Geologists recognize three basic types of fault: normal, reverse and strike-slip faults. Normal and reverse faults are defined by the vertical movement of their sections as opposed to the lateral displacement of strike-slip faults. When local stresses pull rock sections apart, the hanging wall tends to fall. Where forces push the rocks together, a reverse fault forms as the hanging wall overtops the footwall.