Abstract

Experimental modeling is used to study the geometry and evolution of structures and related secondary faults along releasing bends and offsets and restraining bends on strike-slip faults. The controls of the relative positions of adjacent strike-slip faults on the geometry of the structures and the difference in geometries between bends and offsets are investigated. A new method of laser scanning is used to map the geometry and evolution of the structures and related faults. The models show that oblique releasing bends connecting approaching faults result in spindle-shaped basins, whereas transverse bends result in more S-shaped or rhomboidal basins. Offsets result in the distribution of strain over a wider area and a larger number of faults compared with preexisting bends, which result in fewer well-defined basin-bounding faults. Secondary faults include R, R′, and Y Riedel shears near the main strike-slip faults and oblique normal faults in the center of the basin. Fault patterns exhibit en echelon geometries with a progressive step down into the deepest parts of the basin. Symmetric, asymmetric, and double basins may form in any of the structural settings, depending on the slip distribution among faults on the basin margins. For restraining bends, oblique (45°) bends connecting approaching faults result in spindle-shaped uplifts, whereas transverse or oblique (135°) bends connecting overlapping faults result in more rhomboidal or rectangular uplifts. The fold trends are at increasingly higher angles with the strike faults for transverse and oblique (135°) bends. Secondary faults include en echelon reverse faults, which typically form along the steep limbs of asymmetric uplifts, normal faults, which are transverse or oblique to the axis of the structure, and R, R′, and Y Riedel shears near the main strike-slip faults. The aspect ratios of the basins and uplifts increase with increasing displacement on the strike-slip faults. The results of these models can be used to interpret the structural and fault geometries in surface and subsurface structures formed along strike-slip faults.

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