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Interactions and growth of faults in an outcrop-scale system

By
A. Nicol
A. Nicol
GNS Science, PO Box 30368, Lower Hutt, New ZealandPresent address: Department of Geological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
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C. Childs
C. Childs
Fault Analysis Group, School of Earth Sciences, UCD, Dublin, Ireland
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J. J. Walsh
J. J. Walsh
Fault Analysis Group, School of Earth Sciences, UCD, Dublin, Ireland
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T. Manzocchi
T. Manzocchi
Fault Analysis Group, School of Earth Sciences, UCD, Dublin, Ireland
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M. P. J. Schöpfer
M. P. J. Schöpfer
Department for Geodynamics and Sedimentology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
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Published:
January 01, 2017

Abstract:

Fault growth could be achieved by (1) synchronous increases in displacement and length or (2) rapid fault propagation succeeded by displacement-dominated growth. The second of these growth models (here referred to as the constant length model) is rarely applied to small outcrop-scale faults, yet it can account for many of the geometric and kinematic attributes of these faults. The constant length growth model is supported here using displacement profiles, displacement–length relationships and tip geometries for a system of small strike-slip faults (lengths of 1–200 m and maximum displacements of 0.001–3 m) exposed in a coastal platform in New Zealand. Displacement profiles have variable shapes that mainly reflect varying degrees of fault interaction. Increasing average displacement gradients with increasing fault size (maximum displacement and length) may indicate that the degree of interaction increases with fault size. Horsetail and synthetic splays confined to fault-tip regions are compatible with little fault propagation during much of the growth history. Fault displacements and tip geometries are consistent with a two-stage growth process initially dominated by propagation followed by displacement accumulation on faults with near-constant lengths. Retardation of propagation may arise due to fault interactions and associated reduction of tip stresses, with the early transition from propagation-to displacement-dominated growth stages produced by fault-system saturation (i.e. the onset of interactions between all faults). The constant length growth model accounts for different fault types over a range of scales and may have wide application.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

The Geometry and Growth of Normal Faults

C. Childs
C. Childs
University College Dublin, Ireland
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R. E. Holdsworth
R. E. Holdsworth
University of Durham, UK
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C. A.-L. Jackson
C. A.-L. Jackson
Imperial College, UK
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T. Manzocchi
T. Manzocchi
University College Dublin, Ireland
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J. J. Walsh
J. J. Walsh
University College Dublin, Ireland
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G. Yielding
G. Yielding
Badley Geoscience Ltd, UK
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The Geological Society of London
Volume
439
ISBN electronic:
9781862399716
Publication date:
January 01, 2017

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