Do faults trigger folding in the lithosphere?

Do faults trigger folding in the lithosphere? A number of observations reveal large periodic undulations within the oceanic and continental lithospheres. The question if these observations are the result of large‐scale compressive instabilities, i.e. buckling, remains open. In this study, we support the buckling hypothesis by direct numerical modeling. We compare our results with the data on three most proeminent cases of the oceanic and continental folding‐like deformation (Indian Ocean, Western Gobi (Central Asia) and Central Australia). We demonstrate that under reasonable tectonic stresses, folds can develop from brittle faults cutting through the brittle parts of a lithosphere. The predicted wavelengths and finite growth rates are in agreement with observations. We also show that within a continental lithosphere with thermal age greater than 400 My, either a bi‐harmonic mode (two superimposed wavelengths, crustal and mantle one) or a coupled mode (mono‐layer deformation) of inelastic folding can develop, depending on the strength and thickness of the lower crust. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Geophysical Research Letters Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.
ISSN
0094-8276
eISSN
1944-8007
DOI
10.1029/1998GL900293
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A number of observations reveal large periodic undulations within the oceanic and continental lithospheres. The question if these observations are the result of large‐scale compressive instabilities, i.e. buckling, remains open. In this study, we support the buckling hypothesis by direct numerical modeling. We compare our results with the data on three most proeminent cases of the oceanic and continental folding‐like deformation (Indian Ocean, Western Gobi (Central Asia) and Central Australia). We demonstrate that under reasonable tectonic stresses, folds can develop from brittle faults cutting through the brittle parts of a lithosphere. The predicted wavelengths and finite growth rates are in agreement with observations. We also show that within a continental lithosphere with thermal age greater than 400 My, either a bi‐harmonic mode (two superimposed wavelengths, crustal and mantle one) or a coupled mode (mono‐layer deformation) of inelastic folding can develop, depending on the strength and thickness of the lower crust.

Journal

Geophysical Research LettersWiley

Published: Jan 15, 1999

References

  • Shortening of analogue models of the continental lithosphere: new hypothesis for the formation of the tibetan plateau
    Burg, Burg; Davy, Davy; Martinod, Martinod
  • Prediction of faulting from the theories of elasticity and plasticity, what are the limits?
    Gerbault, Gerbault; Poliakov, Poliakov; Daignières, Daignières

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