Insights into Contractional Fault-Related Folding Processes Based on Mechanical, Kinematic, and Empirical Studies

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Insights into Contractional Fault-Related Folding Processes Based on Mechanical, Kinematic, and Empirical Studies

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Title: Insights into Contractional Fault-Related Folding Processes Based on Mechanical, Kinematic, and Empirical Studies
Author: Hughes, Amanda
Citation: Hughes, Amanda. 2012. Insights into Contractional Fault-Related Folding Processes Based on Mechanical, Kinematic, and Empirical Studies. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: This dissertation investigates contractional fault-related folding, an important mechanism of deformation in the brittle crust, using a range of kinematic and mechanical models and data from natural structures. Fault-related folds are found in a wide range of tectonic settings, including mountain belts and accretionary prisms. There are several different classes of fault-related folds, including fault-bend, fault-propagation, shear-fault-bend, and detachment folds. They are distinguished by the geometric relationships between the fold and fault shape, which are driven by differences in the nature of fault and fold growth. The proper recognition of the folding style present in a natural structure, and the mechanical conditions that lead the development of these different styles, are the focus of this research. By taking advantage of recent increases in the availability of high-quality seismic reflection data and computational power, we seek to further develop the relationship between empirical observations of fault-related fold geometries and the kinematics and mechanics of how they form. In Chapter 1, we develop an independent means of determining the fault-related folding style of a natural structure through observation of the distribution of displacement along the fault. We derive expected displacements for kinematic models of end-member fault-related folding styles, and validate this approach for natural structures imaged in seismic reflection data. We then use this tool to gain insight into the deformational history of more complex structures. In Chapter 2, we explore the mechanical and geometric conditions that lead to the transition between fault-bend and fault-propagation folds. Using the discrete element modeling (DEM) method, we investigate the relative importance of factors such as fault dip, mechanical layer strength and anisotropy, and fault friction on the style of structure that develops. We use these model results to gain insight into the development of transitional fault-related folds in the Niger Delta. In Chapter 3, we compare empirical observations of fault-propagation folds with results from mechanical models to gain insight into the factors that contribute to the wide range of structural geometries observed within this structural class. We find that mechanical layer anisotropy is an important factor in the development of different end-member fault-propagation folding styles.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9561260
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