International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 100, Issue 7, pp 1685–1695 | Cite as

Listric versus planar normal fault geometry: an example from the Eisenstadt-Sopron Basin (E Austria)

  • Darko Spahić
  • Ulrike Exner
  • Michael Behm
  • Bernhard Grasemann
  • Alexander Haring
  • Herbert Pretsch
Original Paper


In a gravel pit at the eastern margin of the Eisenstadt-Sopron Basin, a satellite of Vienna Basin (Austria), Neogene sediments are exposed in the hanging wall of a major normal fault. The anticlinal structure and associated conjugated secondary normal faults were previously interpreted as a rollover anticline above a listric normal fault. The spatial orientation and distribution of sedimentary horizons and crosscutting faults were mapped in detail on a laser scan of the outcrop wall. Subsequently, in order to assess the 3D distribution and geometry of this fault system, a series of parallel ground penetrating radar (GPR) profiles were recorded behind the outcrop wall. Both outcrop and GPR data were compiled in a 3D structural model, providing the basis for a kinematic reconstruction of the fault plane using balanced cross-section techniques. However, the kinematic reconstruction results in a geologically meaningless normal fault cutting down- and up-section. Additionally, no evidence for a weak layer serving as ductile detachment horizon (i.e. salt or clay horizon) can be identified in stratigraphic profiles. Instead, the observed deflection of stratigraphic horizons may be caused by a displacement gradient along a planar master fault, with a maximum displacement in the fault centre, decreasing towards the fault tips. Accordingly, the observed deflection of markers in the hanging wall—and in a nearby location in the footwall of the normal fault—is interpreted as large-scale fault drag along a planar fault that records a displacement gradient, instead of a rollover anticline related to a listric fault.


Listric fault Fault drag Ground penetrating radar Balanced cross-section 



This study was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF-Project P20092-N10). We thank K. Decker, M. Wagreich and M. Harzhauser for discussion and providing information about earlier exposure conditions of the gravel pit.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darko Spahić
    • 1
  • Ulrike Exner
    • 1
  • Michael Behm
    • 2
  • Bernhard Grasemann
    • 1
  • Alexander Haring
    • 3
  • Herbert Pretsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department for Geodynamics and SedimentologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Geodesy and GeophysicsVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria
  3. 3.Christian Doppler Laboratory for “Spatial Data from Laser Scanning and Remote Sensing”Vienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

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