The brittle and ductile components of displacement along fault zones
C. Homberg, J. Schnyder, V. Roche, V. Leonardi, M. Benzaggagh, 2017. "The brittle and ductile components of displacement along fault zones", The Geometry and Growth of Normal Faults, C. Childs, R. E. Holdsworth, C. A.-L. Jackson, T. Manzocchi, J. J. Walsh, G. Yielding
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The total offset across a fault zone may include offsets by discontinuous faulting as well as continuous deformation, including fault-related folding. This study investigates the relationships between these two components during fault growth. We established conceptual models for the distributions of displacement due to faulting (i.e. brittle component or near-field displacement), to folding (i.e. ductile component) and to the sum of both (i.e. far-field displacement) for different mechanisms of fault-related folding. We then compared these theoretical displacement profiles with those measured along mesoscale normal faults cutting carbonate-rich sequences in the Southeast Mesozoic sedimentary basin of France. The near-field and far-field displacement profiles follow either a flat-topped or a triangular shape. Several fold mechanisms were recognized, sometimes occurring together along the same fault and represent either fault-propagation folds, shear folds or coherent drag folds. In the last case, local deficit in the fault slip is balanced by folding so that the brittle and ductile components compose together a coherent fault zone. Common characteristics of these faults are a high folding component that can reach up to 75% of the total fault throw, a high displacement gradient (up to 0.5) and a strong fault sinuosity.