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Schultz, R.A., 1987

Mechanics of curved strike-slip faults

Bibliographic Reference

Schultz, R.A., 1987, Mechanics of curved strike-slip faults: West Layfayette, Indiana, Purdue University, Ph.D. dissertation, 142 p.


Curved strike-slip faults are common structures in convergent, divergent, and transform plate margins. We analyze these structures using numerical boundary element and fracture mechanics methods to study the influence of curvature on deformation around curved faults. Mechanical modeling of ideal circular-arc faults shows that locations of extensional and compressional structures change position along the fault as a function of curvature and remote stress orientation. Stress intensity factors for curved faults are obtained using the near-tip displacement method. Mode-II shear stress intensity factors can differ in general in magnitude and sign at tips of curved faults. Thus, fault curvature can play an important role in fault propagation. Application of this analysis to field examples of curved strike-slip faults shows that seismicity, secondary deformation, and reversal of slip sense along these faults depend on fault geometry, remote stress state, and fault friction. Analysis of nonmarine interior basins in Alaska suggests that they formed due to strike-slip displacements along adjacent curved faults. Fault slip was driven by relative motions of Pacific and North American lithospheric plates, and the overriding, continental plate deformed internally far from the plate margin during Cenozoic oblique convergence.

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