A Fault-Cored Anticline Boundary Element Model Incorporating the Combined Fault Slip and Buckling Mechanisms

  • Author(s): Wen-Jeng Huang and Kaj M. Johnson
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2015.06.18.01(TT)
  • Keywords: Folding, Earthquake hazard, Anticline, Fault-related fold, Blind fault, Fault slip rate

We develop a folding boundary element model in a medium containing a fault and elastic layers to show that anticlines growing over slipping reverse faults can be significantly amplified by mechanical layering buckling under horizontal shortening. Previous studies suggested that folds over blind reverse faults grow primarily during deformation increments associated with slips on the fault during and immediately after earthquakes. Under this assumption, the potential for earthquakes on blind faults can be determined directly from fold geometry because the amount of slip on the fault can be estimated directly from the fold geometry using the solution for a dislocation in an elastic half-space. Studies that assume folds grown solely by slip on a fault may therefore significantly overestimate fault slip. Our boundary element technique demonstrates that the fold amplitude produced in a medium containing a fault and elastic layers with free slip and subjected to layer-parallel shortening can grow to more than twice the fold amplitude produced in homogeneous media without mechanical layering under the same amount of shortening. In addition, the fold wavelengths produced by the combined fault slip and buckling mechanisms may be narrower than folds produced by fault slip in an elastic half space by a factor of two. We also show that subsurface fold geometry of the Kettleman Hills Anticline in Central California inferred from seismic reflection image is consistent with a model that incorporates layer buckling over a dipping, blind reverse fault and the coseismic uplift pattern produced during a 1985 earthquake centered over the anticline forelimb is predicted by the model.

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