Abstract

A fault array in South Australia, interpreted from a 3D onshore seismic survey, shows fault traces on the lowermost mapped horizon of a shale‐dominated sequence which outline polygonal cells averaging 1.4 km in diameter. The cell boundaries coincide approximately with the downward terminations and near convergence of conjugate pairs of normal faults. The pattern becomes less spatially ordered on higher horizons where faults still show a near‐isotropic strike distribution. Maximum throws, c. 80 m, occur c. 400 m above the downward terminations of the faults. The faults have a systematic geometric relationship with folds, with anticlines in the mutual hanging walls of fault pairs and broader footwall synclines that define the shallow dish forms of the polygons. Polygon boundaries coincide with anticlinal ridges on the interface between the faulted sequence and an underlying 35 m thick low velocity, low density, overpressured layer. Although the pattern of ridges defining the polygon boundaries is strikingly similar to experimental spoke and hub patterns formed at the boundaries between viscous materials with density inversion, the data do not exclude the possibility of lateral extension.

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