Abstract

Triangle zones are widespread structural elements that link fold and thrust belts with their foreland basins. We present a structural analysis of an outcrop-scale (~6 m [20 ft] wide) triangle zone that is exposed in the siliciclastic Carboniferous strata of the Harz Mountains in northern Germany. The geometry of the triangle zone is critically compared with larger outcrop and seismic-scale structures. The external form of the triangle zone is the same as that proposed for larger examples, with two bounding detachments that dip in opposing directions. However, the interior of the triangle zone is characterized by tight to isoclinal folds. We demonstrate how the triangle zone probably evolved from a fault-bend fold, which accreted further folds behind it. This is an alternative fold-based interpretation for a structure that is commonly modeled as a duplex stack. We present the resulting consequences for seismic interpretation and hydrocarbon reservoir evaluation.

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