Abstract

Much fault-hosted epithermal mineralization is localized in dilational jogs between en echelon fault segments, as fissure veins or as hydrothermally cemented, high-dilation wall-rock breccias. Jog widths may range from millimetres to kilometres; vein textures record histories of incremental development. Perturbation or arrest of earthquake ruptures at dilational jogs has been observed and is believed to involve extensional fracturing at the rupture tip, locally reducing fluid pressure and inducing suctions opposing rapid slip transfer across the jog. This forced fissuring leads to brecciation by hydraulic implosion and to a concentrated fluid influx, allowing delayed slip transfer accompanied by aftershock activity. Within the southern San Andreas fault system, major dilational jogs extend throughout the seismogenic regime and form loci for magmatic-hydrothermal systems; they act as vertical pipelike conduits for enhanced fluid flow. Rupture termination at these structures has sometimes been followed by hydrothermal eruptions, suggesting that high-level boiling events are triggered by the arrest mechanism. It thus seems probable that episodic mineral deposition in the top 1–2 km of such jogs is induced by the dynamic effects of rupturing on the flanking strike-slip faults.

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