Abstract

Spectacular rock fins on the flanks of Salt Valley anticline in southeast Utah are formed by erosion along zones of joints. Within a rock fin, arches form where intense fracturing is localized. Fracture localization is controlled by shear displacement along existing horizontal or vertical discontinuities. Horizontal discontinuities may be shale layers, shale lenses, or bedding planes, whereas vertical discontinuities are usually preexisting joint segments. The roof and overall shape of an arch is controlled by existing shale layers, interfaces between sandstones of different properties, or secondary fractures due to shear on vertical joints. Joints that bound rock fins are related to the formation of the diapir-cored Salt Valley anticline. Shear displacement along existing discontinuities, which localizes intense fracturing, is probably related to the growth of Salt Valley anticline and its subsequent collapse due to dissolution of the anticlines salt core.

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