Earthquake Petrology : Linking Fault-Related Deformation to the Earthquake Cycle

Mitchell R. Prante

Published 2013, SCEC Contribution #6270

Faults have a controlling influence on a variety of geologic processes including fluid flow, the mechanical behavior of the crust, and seismicity. The geologic sciences have long recognized that faults generate earthquakes; however, few indicators of ancient earthquakes exist in fault-zones. This dissertation documents several indicators for the preservation of ancient earthquakes in fault-zones including frictional melt (pseudotachylyte), highly-polished fault slip surfaces, and hydrothermal alteration. These deformation products result from rapid generation of frictional heat during earthquakes. This dissertation also focuses on the seismic potential of continental low-angle normal faults (LANF). We document the preservation of voluminous pseudotachylyte along a LANF suggesting that the fault repeatedly nucleated large earthquakes. Additionally, a synthesis of reported occurrences of LANF pseudotachylyte indicates that LANF seismicity is common during extension. This has important implication for the mechanics and evolution of LANFs and for the assessment of seismic hazards. We also present a little used, high resolution, and low-cost 3D range camera for use in geology. The KinectTM is a 3D infrared range camera that can be used to collect high- resolution (℗ł 1 mm), 3D data in both field and laboratory settings. We describe the use of the KinectTM in geologic applications and recommend more widespread use.

Key Words
faults, pseudotachylyte, low-angle, rates

Prante, M. R. (2013). Earthquake Petrology : Linking Fault-Related Deformation to the Earthquake Cycle