Abstract

This paper describes some simple graphical techniques for analyzing the kinematic evolution of growth faults and presents a case study of the late Pleistocene–recent history of a group of 17 faults from offshore Texas. Throw versus depth plots derived from depth-converted high-resolution seismic data were used to define growth histories. The faults exhibit polycyclic kinematic behavior, with at least three cycles of active fault growth separated by periods of inactivity. This cyclic behavior correlates broadly with three transgressive-regressive cycles along this part of the Gulf Coast. In detail, however, we find that activity of closely spaced faults in the array can either be in phase or out of phase with neighboring faults. This complex group behavior is attributed to the geometry of the detachment surface, pore-fluid pressure distribution, loading, and friction. This study demonstrates that although a general correlation with sediment loading may exist, individual fault activity is unlikely to correlate with periods of maximum sediment accumulation.

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