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formerly Central European Journal of Geosciences

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Effect of block rotation on the pitch of slickenlines

Shunshan Xu
  • Centro de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 1-742, Querétaro, Qro., 76001, México
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/ Ángel Nieto-Samaniego
  • Centro de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 1-742, Querétaro, Qro., 76001, México
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/ Susana Alaniz-Álvarez
  • Centro de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 1-742, Querétaro, Qro., 76001, México
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/ Luis Velasquillo-Martínez
  • Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo, Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas No. 152, Col. San Bartolo Atepehuacan, C.P. 07730, México D.F., México
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Published Online: 2011-03-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10085-010-0031-6


Rotation of faults or pre-existing weakness planes produce two effects on the slickenlines of fault planes. First, the rotation leads to changes in the pitch of slickenlines. As a result, the aspect of the pre-existing fault may change. For example, after rotation, a normal fault may show features of an oblique fault, a strike-slip fault, or a thrust fault. Second, due to rotation, stress states on the fault planes are different from those before the rotation. As a consequence some previous planes may be reactivated. For an isolated plane, the reactivation due to rotation can produce new sets of slickenlines. With block rotation, superimposed slickenlines can be generated in the same tectonic phase. Thus, it is not appropriate to use fault-slip data from slickenlines to analyze the stress tensor in a region where there is evidence of block rotation. As an example, we present the data of slickenlines from core samples in the Tunich area of the Gulf of Mexico. The results wrongly indicate that the calculated stress tensor deviates from the far-field stress tensor.

Keywords: Block rotation; fault; pitch; slickenline; Mexico

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About the article

Published Online: 2011-03-27

Published in Print: 2011-03-01

Citation Information: Open Geosciences, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 29–36, ISSN (Online) 2391-5447, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10085-010-0031-6.

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