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Strike Slip Tectonics - Introduction

A.W. Bally
A.W. Bally
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January 01, 1983


Tectonics associated with strike-slip (wrench) fault zones, or perhaps better oblique-slip zones, have in recent years received considerable attention. It may be desirable to clarify the nomenclature of such fault zones, but any attempt to do this will probably sooner or later stumble because a reasonably complete three-dimensional documentation based on reflection seismic data does not yet exist. For our purposes, strike-slip systems, oblique-slip systems, and wrench fault systems are considered to be roughly synonymous.

We find the definition of K.B. Sporli (as quoted by P. E Ballance and H.G. Reading) for obliqueslip mobile zones particularly instructive:

"Across an oblique-slip mobile zone the relative motion of the blocks which are in contact along the zone is oblique, that is, in plain view there are components of movement both parallel and perpendicular to the zone. The zone may be a plate boundary, in the form of an active continental margin, an island arc, a collision zone between various plate features (e.g. continent/continent, arc/ridge), or an oceanic or continental transform. One may also wish to include rift zones with oblique directions of spreading, at least during their initial stages of opening, especially in the case of narrow back-arc basins and of continental aulacogens. Oblique-slip mobile zones may lie within a non-rigid plate. The width of the mobile zone is usually measured in tens of hundreds of kilometers.

In oblique-slip mobile zones, transpression and/or transtension may occur. If subduction is taking place, the third dimension in the form of a vertical component or movement will also be important, and the definition of oblique-slip then becomes identical with that for oblique-slip faults (Spencer; 1977); i.e. oblique-slip subduction has both strike-slip and dip-slip components of movement. Vertical movement is also important at a smaller scale and as a second order component in the oblique-slip mobile zones without subduction."

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Seismic Expression of Structural Styles: A Picture and Work Atlas. Volume 1–The Layered Earth, Volume 2–Tectonics Of Extensional Provinces, & Volume 3–Tectonics Of Compressional Provinces

A. W. Bally
A. W. Bally
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1983




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