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Decals on terrain

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I have a quad that I want to place onto my terrain so that it will deform and basically cover the section of the terrain it''s on like cloth on a table so to speak. In fact, I may have more than a quad, it could a large flat object of n-triangles. So I figure that if I can do it for one triangle, then I can repeat the process for the rest in the object. So does anyone have a simple algo or paper on this? My terrain is a heightmap of course. I want this to be fairly fast since I will use it for explosions and lighting effects and whatnot. Also, if anyone has any docs on applying decals to general polygons (like Quake style levels for example) I''d be interested in those as well.

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