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# Andersons theory of faulting

## Goals: 1) To understand Andersons theory

of faulting and its implications. 2) To outline
some obvious exceptions to Andersons
theory and some possible explanations for
how these exceptions work.

Primary assumptions
Surface of the earth is not confined, and
not acted on by shear stresses.
Also, tectonic plates move parallel with
Earths surface (unknown in 1951)
Homogenous rocks
Coulomb behavior

## Three possible stress

combinations
Hypothetically requires 2 of the 3 principal
stresses to be parallel with the surface of
the earth
What are they?
What kind of faults would you expect at
each?

## 1 horizontal, 3 vertical reverse faults

1 vertical, 3 horizontal normal faults
1 horizontal, 3 horizontal strike-slip
faults

## Most rocks have an angle of internal friction

30
What dip angles does Andersons theory
predict for
1 horizontal, 3 vertical reverse faults?
1 vertical, 3 horizontal normal faults?
1 horizontal, 3 horizontal strike-slip faults?

Hypothetically
Reverse faults: should form at ~30 dip
Normal faults: should form at ~60 dip
Strike-slip faults: should form at ~90 dip

## Can you think of any exceptions??

Common exceptions
Thrust faults mechanically unfavorable
Low-angle normal faults mechanically
very unfavorable

Possible explanations
1. Elevated pore fluid pressure
2. Pre-existing weaknesses
3. Rolling-hinge model for low-angle normal
faults

pressure (Pf)

s

1eff
3eff

1
3

3eff

1eff

3eff

1eff

## Pore-fluid-pressure mechanism requires low

eff on fault, but high eff in surrounding
rocks

## It also doesnt work well for low-angle normal faults

3eff

1eff

2. Pre-existing anisotropy
Bedding
Weak layer (salt, shale)
Foliation

Donath (1961)
produced shear
fractures at very low
angles to 1 in
anisotropic rock

## 3. Rolling-hinge model for

low-angle normal faults

Cartoon cross
section illustrating
the rolling-hinge
model

East Humboldt
Range

Ruby
Mountains

Geologic map of
the Ruby
Mountains and
East Humboldt
Range

Cross section of a
low-angle normalfault system

Cartoon cross
section illustrating
the rolling-hinge
model