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Abstract

The Teton anticline and adjacent structures, in the Sawtooth Range, Montana, USA, are fractured in such a way that may be taken as a model for fractures propagating during buckle folding. However, advances in understanding both the process of folding in forelands and the evolution of fracture patterns found within these folds suggest that it is time to reinterpret the nexus between fracturing and folding within these classic structures. With the benefit of seismic lines, the Teton anticline is best described as a fault-propagation fold. Joint propagation initiated with the formation of two major sets whose orientation is controlled by pre-folding, regional stresses. Two more joint sets propagated in local stress fields, developed in response to anticline growth. Some early joints were reactivated as wrench faults during amplification and tightening of the anticlines. The fracture sets identified are consistent with: (a) propagation in a regional stress field, which may be related to stretching in the Sawtooth Range orocline; and (b) tangential longitudinal strain of the backlimb and forcing or trishear of the forelimb during anticline development. Thus, we suggest that fracture networks across folded structures should be interpreted and characterized in the light of the geological history of the entire system.

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