In this work, we report the results of a multidisciplinary study describing the structural architecture and diagenetic evolution of the Rocca di Neto extensional fault zone developed in poorly lithified sandstones of the Crotone Basin, Southern Italy. The studied fault zone has an estimated displacement of ∼90 m and consists of: (1) a low-deformation zone with subsidiary faults and widely spaced deformation bands; (2) an ∼10-m-wide damage zone, characterized by a dense network of conjugate deformation bands; (3) an ∼3-m-wide mixed zone produced by tectonic mixing of sediments with different grain size; (4) an ∼1-m-wide fault core with bedding transposed into foliation and ultra-comminute black gouge layers. Microstructural investigations indicate that particulate flow was the dominant early-stage deformation mechanism, while cataclasis became predominant after porosity loss, shallow burial, and selective calcite cementation. The combination of tectonic compaction and preferential cementation led to a strain-hardening behavior inducing the formation of “inclined conjugate deformation band sets” inside the damage zone, caused by the kinematic stress field associated with fault activity. Conversely, conjugate deformation band sets with a vertical bisector formed outside the damage zone in response to the regional extensional stress field. Stable isotope analysis helped in constraining the diagenetic environment of deformation, which is characterized by mixed marine-meteoric signature for cements hosted inside the damage zone, while it progressively becomes more meteoric moving outside the fault zone. This evidence supports the outward propagation of fault-related deformation structures in the footwall damage zone.

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