Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    3D fault zone architecture in Kardia Mine, Ptolemais Basin, Greece
    (University College Dublin. School of Earth Sciences, 2016-12-06)
    Research on normal faults derives mainly from outcrop- and seismic-based studies. Outcrops are characterized by their high resolution but often lack a 3D context, in contrast with seismic-based data that can be fully 3D but with limited resolution compared to outcrop data. The novelty of this study is the examination of a truly 3D dataset of seismic scale fault zones at outcrop resolution. The dataset has been acquired in the active, opencast Kardia lignite mine in the Ptolemais Basin, NW Greece. The basin is affected by two fault systems related to two extensional episodes. The first, Late Miocene episode resulted in the formation of the basin in response to NE-SW extension. The normal faults that occur in the Kardia mine formed during the second, Quaternary episode in response to NW-SE extension. Repeated visits at 3-monthly intervals over a 5-year period have allowed serial sections through the faults to be examined. These sections have been analysed in three dimensions, providing a unique insight into the structure of normal faults. The faults in the Ptolemais mines are unusual in that they are associated with little or no fault rock generation but instead detailed internal fault zone structure, which would normally be comminuted to fault rock, is preserved at very high strains. This feature of the faults allows detailed study of the geometric evolution of the faults and, in the case of the Kardia mine, interaction with synchronous bed-parallel slip surfaces. The total throw on a fault can be considered to be partitioned onto three components 1) throw on the main fault surface, 2) throw on subsidiary fault surfaces and 3) throw accommodated by continuous deformation. Measurement and analyses of these components for the fault zones in Kardia mine demonstrates that the first of these becomes more important with increasing throw consistent with progressive strain localisation during fault growth. Rapid lateral variations in the degree of throw partitioning over a fault zone reflect the range of scales of segmentation of the initial fault. Continuous deformation constitutes an integral element of fault structure at all stages of fault growth and its contribution to total throw decreases with increased throw suggesting that continuous deformation, such as normal drag, develops during the early stages of a fault zone development. Detailed three-dimensional mapping of a seismic scale normal fault shows various degrees of fault linkage with a gradual transition from hard- to soft-linkage with increasing scale of segmentation. Average shear strains measured across the normal fault zone at 81 locations vary by four orders of magnitude. Fault zone geometrical features indicative of linkage between fault segments occur over the full range of shear strains encountered supporting a model in which fault segment linkage is the primary control on the internal structure of the fault zone. By analogy this conclusion suggests that fault segment linkage may be the main control on the thickness and distribution of fault rock in areas where the details of fault zone structure are not preserved but are comminuted to fault rock. Bed-parallel slip within the multilayer sequence in Kardia mine occurred towards the beginning of the second phase of extension and overlapped in time with Quaternary normal faulting. Bed parallel slip, which is attributed to flexural-slip caused by reverse-drag folding in the hanging wall of a major fault, has a persistent top to the north slip direction. Bed-parallel slip surfaces occur throughout the excavated section and individual slip surfaces have slip up to 4.5 metres. 3D mapping of bed-parallel slip surfaces demonstrate that they display many of the features of dip-slip faults, for example, bed-parallel slip surfaces can be segmented both parallel and normal to the slip direction and on a wide range of scales. The displacement to length ratios derived for bed-parallel slip surfaces are typical of those for normal faults but are significantly lower than for the normal faults in Kardia mine. Backstripping of fault zone evolution at the locations of mutually offsetting bed-parallel slip surfaces and normal faults demonstrate how complex fault zone structure arises in the presence of synchronous bed-parallel slip. Bed-parallel slip surfaces formed during fault growth effectively introduce new displacement markers that can be used to examine the growth history of blind faults.
  • Publication
    Variability in the three-dimensional geometry of segmented normal fault surfaces
    Normal faults are often complex three-dimensional structures comprising multiple sub-parallel segments separated by intact or breached relay zones. Relay zones are classified according to whether they step in the strike or dip direction and whether the relay zone-bounding fault segments are unconnected in 3D or bifurcate from a single surface. Complex fault surface geometry is described in terms of the relative numbers of different types of relay zones to allow comparison of fault geometry between different faults and different geological settings. A large database of fault surfaces compiled primarily from mapping 3D seismic reflection surveys and classified according to this scheme, reveals the diversity of 3D fault geometry. Analysis demonstrates that mapped fault geometries depend on geological controls, primarily the heterogeneity of the faulted sequence and the presence of a pre-existing structure, as well as on resolution limits and biases in fault mapping from seismic data. Where a significant number of relay zones are mapped on a single fault, a wide variety of relay zone geometries occurs, demonstrating that individual faults can comprise segments that are both bifurcating and unconnected in three dimensions.
    Scopus© Citations 19  32
  • Publication
    Bed-parallel slip associated with normal fault systems
    Stretching of the Earth's upper crust is commonly accommodated by normal faulting, fault-related folding and/or fracturing such as veins and joints. However, an increasing number of outcrop-scale studies highlight that extension is also accompanied by bed-parallel slip (BPS). The identification of BPS surfaces is, however, challenging due to their localised nature within bedded host rock sequences, the absence of suitable slip markers, and the scale and resolution of both outcrop and seismic reflection data. Here, we present examples of BPS identified within extensional fault systems in sedimentary sequences and outline the nature, magnitude, segmentation, and spatiotemporal distribution of BPS surfaces. These constraints provide a basis for defining the principal structural controls on BPS development and its geometric and kinematic relationship to normal faulting. We conclude that BPS is a common feature within multi-layered host rock sequences, irrespective of their lithological and mechanical properties, and is kinematically associated with a broad range of fault-related deformation, including bed rotations, flexural-slip folding, and both tectonic and gravity-driven sliding. The presence of BPS within normal fault systems can increase the complexity of the host rock volumes and fracture arrays with potential implications on subsurface fluid flow and seismicity.
    Scopus© Citations 6  140
  • Publication
    The role of antithetic faults in transferring displacement across contractional relay zones on normal faults
    Contractional relay zones between pairs of normal faults are sometimes associated with multiple antithetic faults in a geometry similar to that found in Riedel shear zones. Detailed fault displacement profiles of outcrop examples of this geometry demonstrate that the antithetic faults accommodate the transfer of displacement between the synthetic faults that bound the relay zones. The throw on individual antithetic faults, or R′ shears, is typically constant across relay zones while the throw profile on the synthetic faults, or R shears, is stepped; the steps occurring across branchpoints with abutting R’ shears. Transfer of fault displacement occurs by a combination of block rotation and irrotational block translation within the relay zone. As fault throw increases, contractional relay zones are by-passed by the linkage of the synthetic faults, in a manner analogous to the formation of P-shears by the linkage of R shears in classic Riedel shear experiments, but with the original relay zone structure still preserved within the fault zone. With yet further strain bedding may rotate into near-parallelism with the fault surface, with the original geometrical configuration of the relay zone difficult to unravel.
    Scopus© Citations 4  184