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Title: A unified framework for earthquake sequences and the growth of geological structure in fold-thrust belts
Authors: Mallick, Rishav
Bürgmann, Roland
Johnson, Kaj
Hubbard, Judith
Keywords: Science::Geology::Structural geology
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Mallick, R., Bürgmann, R., Johnson, K. & Hubbard, J. (2021). A unified framework for earthquake sequences and the growth of geological structure in fold-thrust belts. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 126(9), e2021JB022045-.
Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 
Abstract: Observations of fold growth in fold-thrust belt settings show that brittle deformation can be localized or distributed. Localized shear is associated with frictional slip on primary faults, while distributed brittle deformation is recognized in the folding of the bulk medium. The interplay of these processes is clearly seen in fault-bend folds, which are folds cored by a fault with an abrupt change in dip (e.g., a ramp-décollement system). While the kinematics of fault-bend folding were described decades ago, the dynamics of these structures remain poorly understood, especially the evolution of fault slip and off-fault deformation over different periods of the earthquake cycle. In order to investigate the dynamics of fault-bend folding, we develop a numerical modeling framework that combines a long-term elasto-plastic model of folding in a layered medium with a rate-state frictional model of fault strength evolution in order to simulate geologically and mechanically consistent earthquake sequences. In our simulations, slip on the ramp-décollement fault and inelastic fold deformation are mechanically coupled processes that build geologic structure. As a result, we observe that folding of the crust (like fault slip) does not occur steadily in time but is modulated by earthquake cycle stresses. We suggest combining seismological and geodetic observations with geological fault models to uncover how elastic and inelastic crustal deformation generate fault-bend folds. We find that distinguishing between the elastic and inelastic response of the crust to fault slip is possible only in the postseismic period following large earthquakes, indicating that for most fault systems this information currently remains inaccessible.
ISSN: 2169-9313
DOI: 10.1029/2021JB022045
Rights: © 2021 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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