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Abstract:

Interbedded shale and limestone successions in the Kilve Beach area, Bristol Channel Basin, UK, provide insights on fracture networks around normal faults in fine-grained lithologies. Fracture sets with distinct orientations are characteristic of both shale and limestone beds. Shear fractures (mode II) predominate in the shaly units, and they have typically more gentle dips and a larger spread in orientations than extension veins and shear fractures in the limestones. Fracture intensities decrease away from the fault core, but maximum intensities, total number of fractures and widths of the damage zones appear to be independent of throw for normal faults with offsets of less than 20 m. Thus, there is no clear systematic relationship between fault throw and damage zone width in the shales studied by us. However, an asymmetry in the fracture distribution is evidenced by a wider hanging-wall damage zone and differences in fracture orientations in some cases. We interpret the asymmetry and spread in fracture orientations to be the result of propagating fault-tip process zones and the tempo-spatial impact of fault-slip events.

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