Abstract

We investigated quantitatively the propagation of a reactivated strike-slip fault through a sedimentary cover. To this end we prepared five simplified analogue models that reproduce a chain with its frontal allochtonous wedge overrunning the foreland. The foreland/chain deformation follows the reactivation of an inherited strike-slip fault cutting the foreland domain. The observation and quantification of the effects of this reactivation, in particular on the orogenic wedge front, provide new insight on the evolution of this type of tectonic setting. We placed special emphasis on quantifying the structural features observed in the models to (1) interpret the kinematics of the reactivated shear zone, and (2) put forward hypotheses on areas indirectly affected by the reactivated fault. The interpretation of the models was based on an integrated analysis of surface and subsurface data. The results show that the geological setting is strongly influenced by the presence of a reactivated pre-existing lineament, that ultimately controls the development and pattern of newly-formed faults. Finally, we present and discuss two natural examples (in Italy Molise-Gondola shear zone, Southern Apennines, and Scicli-Ragusa line, Sicily) in view of the modeling results.

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