Geometric and experimental models of extensional fault-bend folds

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We use geometric and experimental models to study the development of extensional fault-bend folds. The geometric models show that fault shape, fault displacement, and patterns of aggradation/erosion profoundly affect the distribution of growth beds, the magnitude and direction of dip of pregrowth and growth beds, and the location and dip of the outer limit of folding in pregrowth and growth beds. Complex structural and stratigraphic patterns develop if the rate of aggradation/ erosion relative to the rate of fault displacement changes through time. The experimental models (with dry sand and wet clay) show that several deformational styles can accommodate extensional fault-bend folding. In sand models, a few, relatively major, secondary antithetic normal faults accommodate most hanging wall deformation. Pregrowth layers, although faulted, remain flat. The effective shear direction parallels the antithetic normal faults, and the shear angle is about 60°-65°. In clay models, numerous, relatively minor, secondary normal faults (antithetic and synthetic) and cataclastic flow accommodate most hanging wall deformation. The deformed pregrowth and growth layers dip gently toward the main fault. The effective shear angle (35°-50°) is considerably less than the dip of the antithetic normal faults. In the sand models and geometric models with a large shear angle (60°), more displacement occurs on the main normal fault and the hanging wall collapses in a relatively narrow zone. In the clay models and geometric models with a small shear angle (35°), less displacement occurs on the main normal fault. Instead, the hanging wall stretches substantially and collapses in a relatively wide zone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-305
Number of pages21
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
StatePublished - May 15 2006


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Geology

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