The dating of shallow faults in the earth crust
Normal faulting is indicative of a region that is stretching, and on the continents, normal faulting usually occurs in regions with relatively high elevation such as plateaus. The way to keep these terms straight is to imagine that you are standing on one side of the fault and an earthquake occurs. Faults and Forces The style of faulting is an indicator of rock deformation and reflects the type of forces pushing or pulling on the region. Faulting Geometry Faulting is a complex process and the variety of faults that exists is large. As you might expect, the distribution of faulting styles is not random, but varies systematically across Earth and was one of the most important observations in constructing the plate tectonic model which explains so much of what we observe happening in the shallow part of Earth.
Slip Dip and strike describe the orientation of the fault, we also have to describe the direction of motion across the fault. If a fault curves, the strike varies along the fault, but this is seldom causes a communication problem if you are careful to specify the location such as latitude and longitude of the measurement. The center of the fault is the most deformed and is where most of the offset or slip between the surrounding rock occurs. Faults and Forces The style of faulting is an indicator of rock deformation and reflects the type of forces pushing or pulling on the region. Strike-slip faulting indicates neither extension nor compression, but identifies regions where rocks are sliding past each other. That is, which way did one side of the fault move with respect to the other. If you were tunneling through a fault, the material beneath the fault would be by your feet, the other material would be hanging above you head. There are three cases to consider, the vertical force can be the smallest, the largest, or the intermediate neither smallest or largest. Fault Classifications Active, Inactive, and Reactivated Faults Active faults are structure along which we expect displacement to occur. If the vertical force is the largest, we get normal faulting, if it is the smallest, we get reverse faulting. The largest earthquakes are generally low-angle shallow dipping reverse faults associated with "subduction" plate boundaries. We usually specify the magnitude and direction separately. Dip The fault illustrated in the previous section was oriented vertically. The way to keep these terms straight is to imagine that you are standing on one side of the fault and an earthquake occurs. Dip is the angle that describes the steepness of the fault surface. Of course if the fault is perfectly vertical you have to describe the situation as a special case. The direction of slip is measured on the fault surface, and like the strike and dip, it is specified as an angle. If the motion was down, the fault is called a normal fault, if the movement was up, the fault is called a reverse fault. Last is the competent "host" rock that marks the end of the fault zone. Near Earth's surface, the orientation of these forces are usually oriented such that one is vertical and the other two are horizontal. As you might expect, the distribution of faulting styles is not random, but varies systematically across Earth and was one of the most important observations in constructing the plate tectonic model which explains so much of what we observe happening in the shallow part of Earth. When the hanging wall moves horizontally, it's a strike-slip earthquake. Structure of an exposed section of a vertical strike-slip fault zone after Chester et al. If a fault has been inactive for millions of years, it's certainly safe to call it inactive. The precise direction of the horizontal forces varies from place to place as does the size of each force. Outside that region is another that contains distinguishable fractures, but much less dense than the preceding region.
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