International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 101, Issue 2, pp 463–482 | Cite as

Centrifuge modelling of deformation of a multi-layered sequence over a ductile substrate: 1. Style and 4D geometry of active cover folds during layer-parallel shortening

  • Chris Yakymchuk
  • Lyal B. HarrisEmail author
  • Laurent Godin
Original Paper


Centrifuge analogue modelling illustrates the progressive development of active folds in multilayers upon a ductile substrate during layer-parallel shortening. Models simulate folding of a mechanically stratified sedimentary sequence upon migmatitic gneisses in a large hot orogen, or upon a thick basal evaporite ± shale sequence in deeper levels of fold belts. The absence of a weak low-viscosity and low-density layer at the interface promotes infolding of the cover sequence and ductile substrate, whereas a planar upper surface to the basal ductile substrate is preserved when it is present. Whilst fold style, wavelength, and deformation of the interface with the ductile substrate differ depending on whether a low-viscosity and low-density layer is present at the base of the cover sequence, there is no marked systematic curvature of fold axes as seen in previous sandbox models for fault-bend or fault propagation folding during bulk shortening. Bulk shortening of a layered sequence with relatively thick individual layers above a ductile substrate promotes a regular and upright train of buckle folds, whereas thinner layers promote a more irregular distribution of buckle folds with variable vergence, style, and amplitude. Buckle folds above a ductile substrate progressively develop during bulk shortening from open and upright, to angular and tight, and may further develop into cuspate structures above relatively weak horizons. Relatively thick weak horizons within the layered sequence during bulk shortening interrupt regular fold patterns up structural section and allow out-of-phase folds to develop above and below the weak horizon.


Active folding Centrifuge analogue modelling CT scanning Ductile décollement Fold belts Orogenic infrastructure and superstructure Deformation of evaporites, salt, and shale 



Acknowledgment is made to the Donors of the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for funding CT scanning and centrifuge modelling research at INRS-ETE and to NSERC for Discovery grants to L. Harris and L. Godin. Modelling was undertaken by C. Yakymchuk whilst recipient of an NSERC USRA Summer Research Scholarship. The laboratory for physical, numerical, and geophysical simulations at INRS-ETE was funded by CFI and MELS-Q grants to L. Harris with contributions from INRS-ETE, Applied Geodynamics Laboratory of the Bureau of Economic Geology (University of Texas at Austin, who donated the centrifuge), Sun Microsystems, Seismic Microtechnology, and Norsar. CT scanning was undertaken by L.-F. Daigle in the Quebec Multidisciplinary Scanography Laboratory at INRS-ETE. Effective viscosity measurements were undertaken by J. Poulin and E. Konstantinovskaya; M. Bousmina, Département génie des mines, métallurgie et matériaux, Universté Laval, is thanked for access to his polymer rheology laboratory and M. Rousseau for instruction and assistance in viscosity measurements. S. Cruden is thanked for providing PDMS and B. Giroux for allowing LH workstation access for 3D visualization of CT scans. CY thanks the Battertons for their hospitality for the duration of the modelling program. Careful reviews by C. Dietl and an anonymous reviewer and editorial handling by R. Greiling helped us substantially improve this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Yakymchuk
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lyal B. Harris
    • 2
    Email author
  • Laurent Godin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological Sciences and Geological EngineeringQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Centre Eau Terre Environnement (INRS-ETE)QuebecCanada
  3. 3.Department of GeologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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