Throw variations and strain partitioning associated with fault-bend folding along normal faults
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
- NGI articles 
Original versionSolid Earth (SE). 2020, 11, 935-945. doi: 10.5194/se-11-935-2020
Normal faults have irregular geometries on a range of scales arising from different processes including refraction and segmentation. A fault with constant dip and displacement on a large-scale will have irregular geometries on smaller scales, the presence of which will generate fault-related folds and down-fault variations in throw. A quantitative model is presented which illustrates the deformation arising from movement on irregular fault surfaces, with fault-bend folding generating geometries reminiscent of normal and reverse drag. Calculations based on the model highlight how fault throws are partitioned between continuous (i.e. folding) and discontinuous (i.e. discrete offset) strain along fault bends for the full range of possible fault dip changes. These calculations illustrate the potential significance of strain partitioning on measured fault throw and the potential errors that will arise if account is not taken of the continuous strains accommodated by folding and bed rotations. We show that fault throw can be subject to errors of up to ca. 50 % for realistic down-dip fault bend geometries (up to ca. 40∘), on otherwise sub-planar faults with constant displacement. This effect will provide irregular variations in throw and bed geometries that must be accounted for in associated kinematic interpretations.