Abstract

Geomorphic analysis of radar imagery covering an east-west 18-km-wide swath, from Sandyville to Camden, West Virginia, has revealed a striking polygonal topographic pattern. This pattern is apparently an erosional response to varying combinations of at least six fracture sets (strike, dip, and two conjugate shear pairs), related to one-time movement of a great thrust sheet, extending westward from the Appalachian Front to the Burning Springs anticline. The preferred fracture sets were apparently rotated up to 10 degrees counterclockwise in the Burning Springs area in accordance with “pileup” of the leading edge of the thrust sheet. The décollement movement permitted a maximum of the possible fracture sets to advance beyond the incipient stage of development. Immediately west of the Burning Springs anticline there is notably less expression of the polygonal pattern and only two fracture sets are strongly expressed.

There was good correspondence between air photo lineament patterns, radar imagery lineament patterns, and surface joint strikes measured in the Burning Springs area. However, air photos generally revealed short lineament segments, whereas the synoptic radar presentation revealed lineups of segments; hence, long integral fracture zones.

The fracture pattern inferred through radar imagery interpretation and confirmed by surface measurement is reflected in the outlines of some oil fields in the area.

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