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Widening of normal fault zones due to the inhibition of vertical propagation

By
V. Roche
V. Roche
Department of Physics, CCIS, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E1
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C. Homberg
C. Homberg
UPMC, Université Paris 06, ISTEP, UMR 7193, 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
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M. Van Der Baan
M. Van Der Baan
Department of Physics, CCIS, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E1
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M. Rocher
M. Rocher
IRSN, Institut de Radioprotection et de Sureté Nucléaire, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France
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Published:
January 01, 2017

Abstract:

In this paper, we document the early stage of fault-zone development based on detailed observations of mesocale faults in layered rocks. The vertical propagation of the studied faults is stopped by layer-parallel faults contained in a weak layer. This restriction involves a flat-topped throw profile along the fault plane and modifications of the fault structures near the restricted tips, with geometries ranging from planar structures to fault zones characterized by abundant parallel fault segments. The ‘far-field’ displacement (i.e. the sum of the displacement accumulated by all the fault segments and the folding) measured along the restricted faults exhibiting this segmentation may have flat-topped shapes or triangular shapes when fault-related folding is observed above the layer-parallel faults. We develop a model from the observations. In this model, during the course of restriction, a fault forms as a simple isolated planar structure, then parallel fault segments successively initiate to accommodate the increasing displacement. We assume that, eventually, the fault propagates beyond the layer-parallel fault. This model implies first that fault widening is controlled by the fault capacity to propagate vertically in the layered section. Likewise, owing to restriction, fault growth occurs with non-linear increases in maximum displacement, length and thickness.

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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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Geological Society of London
Volume
439
ISBN electronic:
9781862399716
Publication date:
January 01, 2017

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