Numerical modeling of fault formation and the dynamics of existing faults.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/185125
Title:
Numerical modeling of fault formation and the dynamics of existing faults.
Author:
Williams, Charles Addison, Jr.
Issue Date:
1990
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This research is an investigation into two different aspects of the faulting process. The first part of the study focuses on the initial stages of fault formation, while the second analyzes the deformation produced by an existing fault. The section on fault formation is an attempt to determine whether slip on an existing fault has a significant effect on the formation of subsequent faults. A two-dimensional elastic finite element technique is used to examine the system of stresses produced by slip on an initial fault, assuming that deformation occurs either elastically or by brittle failure. A Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion is used to determine the most likely region of secondary fault initiation. A strain energy criterion is then used to find the preferred direction of fault propagation. The study on fault formation is subdivided into two sections representing two idealized tectonic environments: purely extensional and purely compressional. The section on extensional fault formation explains the prevalence of grabens in extensional tectonic regimes as a consequence of the stress perturbations due to slip on an initial normal fault. Slip on the initial fault produces a region of high proximity to failure at the surface of the downthrown block. A secondary fault would be expected to initiate in this region. The direction of propagation of this fault that most effectively relieves the shear stress (and therefore minimizes the total strain energy) is toward the initial fault, resulting in an antithetic orientation, or graben. The width of the graben is found to be controlled by the depth of the initial normal fault, rather than the depth to a change in material properties. The study of compressional fault formation indicates that, except for steeply-dipping faults, the presence of an initial thrust fault tends to suppress the formation of other faults in its vicinity. However, if a secondary fault initiates near an initial thrust fault, the direction in which it propagates will be influenced by the presence of the initial fault. The way in which it is influenced is dependent on the fault dip. The final part of this study examines the deformation produced by repeated earthquake cycles on the San Andreas fault in southern California. A three-dimensional, time-dependent kinematic finite element model is used to investigate the influence of slip distribution and rheological parameters on the predicted horizontal and vertical deformation. The models include depth-varying rheological properties and power-law viscoelastic behavior. The predicted deformation patterns are fairly sensitive to the parameters used in this study. Of particular importance is the calculation of vertical uplift rate since, in many cases, models that cannot be distinguished from each other on the basis of horizontal deformation may produce distinctive vertical uplift patterns.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Faults (Geology); Finite element method; Geophysics.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Geosciences; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Richardson, Randall M.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleNumerical modeling of fault formation and the dynamics of existing faults.en_US
dc.creatorWilliams, Charles Addison, Jr.en_US
dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Charles Addison, Jr.en_US
dc.date.issued1990en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis research is an investigation into two different aspects of the faulting process. The first part of the study focuses on the initial stages of fault formation, while the second analyzes the deformation produced by an existing fault. The section on fault formation is an attempt to determine whether slip on an existing fault has a significant effect on the formation of subsequent faults. A two-dimensional elastic finite element technique is used to examine the system of stresses produced by slip on an initial fault, assuming that deformation occurs either elastically or by brittle failure. A Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion is used to determine the most likely region of secondary fault initiation. A strain energy criterion is then used to find the preferred direction of fault propagation. The study on fault formation is subdivided into two sections representing two idealized tectonic environments: purely extensional and purely compressional. The section on extensional fault formation explains the prevalence of grabens in extensional tectonic regimes as a consequence of the stress perturbations due to slip on an initial normal fault. Slip on the initial fault produces a region of high proximity to failure at the surface of the downthrown block. A secondary fault would be expected to initiate in this region. The direction of propagation of this fault that most effectively relieves the shear stress (and therefore minimizes the total strain energy) is toward the initial fault, resulting in an antithetic orientation, or graben. The width of the graben is found to be controlled by the depth of the initial normal fault, rather than the depth to a change in material properties. The study of compressional fault formation indicates that, except for steeply-dipping faults, the presence of an initial thrust fault tends to suppress the formation of other faults in its vicinity. However, if a secondary fault initiates near an initial thrust fault, the direction in which it propagates will be influenced by the presence of the initial fault. The way in which it is influenced is dependent on the fault dip. The final part of this study examines the deformation produced by repeated earthquake cycles on the San Andreas fault in southern California. A three-dimensional, time-dependent kinematic finite element model is used to investigate the influence of slip distribution and rheological parameters on the predicted horizontal and vertical deformation. The models include depth-varying rheological properties and power-law viscoelastic behavior. The predicted deformation patterns are fairly sensitive to the parameters used in this study. Of particular importance is the calculation of vertical uplift rate since, in many cases, models that cannot be distinguished from each other on the basis of horizontal deformation may produce distinctive vertical uplift patterns.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectFaults (Geology)en_US
dc.subjectFinite element methoden_US
dc.subjectGeophysics.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGeosciencesen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorRichardson, Randall M.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMelosh, H.J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberChase, Clem G.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWallace, Terry C.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberStrom, Robert G.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest9100054en_US
dc.identifier.oclc704693159en_US
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