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Fault Structure, Deformation Mechanisms, and why Fault Zones Matter to Society

  • Section: Structural Geology and Tectonics
  • Submission deadline: 30 April 2024
  • Lead Editor: Elizabeth S. Petrie, Western Colorado University, Gunnison, CO, USA
  • Guest Editors:
    • David A. Ferrill, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, USA
    • James P. Evans, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA
    • Kelly K. Bradbury, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA

Call for papers

Submit to this Special Issue


Faults are ubiquitous geologic structures that form in essentially all sediment and rock types, occur in all tectonic regimes, and have wide-ranging influences over many orders of magnitude of size and temporal scale. Faults also provide a record of deformation processes fundamental to understanding the tectonic evolution of regions over time. Faults and fault zones serve as pathways for underground movement of fluids such as water, oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy. Faults localize mineralization and host mineral deposits, but they also serve as natural barriers to fluid movement that are important to natural accumulation of resources such as oil and gas and to the storage or disposal of fluids underground. Faults are direct sources of hazard by hosting earthquakes and fault displacement at the ground surface and in the subsurface, in some cases activated by human activities. Earthquakes and the associated surficial deformation can pose significant risk to society.

This special issue of Lithosphere seeks contributions of recent research advances that have improved our understanding of the geometry and kinematics of faults and fault zone deformation processes, earthquakes, fluid-rock interactions, and fault-rock properties spanning the plastic and brittle regimes of the Earth’s crust. We seek manuscripts covering a broad range of scales, methodologies, and topics associated with faults and all fault-related processes. The issue will merge multiple subdisciplines of structural analysis across macro- to sub-micron-scales and we encourage fundamental and applied research related to faults and energy, minerals, groundwater, waste disposal, rock mechanics, and the processes that occur as faults approach the surface of the Earth. We seek research contributions from academia, industry, and government institutions. This special issue will provide a benchmark on, and deliver a series of articles that provide an overview of, the status of our current understanding of faults. It will allow assessment of new developments and future technical challenges related to faults, earthquakes, and other fault-related processes, and their fundamental importance to resources and hazards.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Structure and kinematic analysis of fault zones
  • Role of mechanical stratigraphy in faulting and fault zone deformation
  • Use of innovative methods of analysis of faults and faulting
  • Fault zone properties and hydrogeologic analysis and modeling
  • Faults in energy exploration and extraction
  • Faults in underground storage and waste isolation and disposal
  • Earthquakes and earthquake mechanisms
  • Faults and ore mineralization
  • Relationships between geological and geochemical processes and signatures in fault zones
  • Analyses of geophysical data across and within fault zones
  • Geomechanical and analog modeling of fault nucleation, growth, and reactivation

Papers are published upon acceptance, regardless of the Special Issue publication date.

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