Swiss Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 110, Issue 2, pp 613–630 | Cite as

Three-dimensional modelling of folds, thrusts, and strike-slip faults in the area of Val de Ruz (Jura Mountains, Switzerland)

  • Davood M. Yosefnejad
  • Thorsten J. Nagel
  • Nikolaus Froitzheim


The Val-de-Ruz syncline is a northeast-southwest trending, rhomb-shaped synclinal basin in the internal part of the central Jura Mountains. The Mesozoic sediment succession is decoupled from the basement by a décollement horizon in Middle Triassic evaporite-bearing layers at depth and folding is associated with southeast-dipping thrust splays rooting into this décollement. The folds and thrusts also interfere with a system of N-S striking, sinistral strike-slip faults. A 3D model was constructed from the following input data: A digital elevation model, the 1:25,000 geological map of Switzerland, published contours of the top of basement based on drilling and seismics, and nine newly constructed cross-sections. The latter are based on surface geology and published seismic data. Cross-sections parallel to the northwestward transport direction, i.e. perpendicular to the overall strike, are line balanced. Anticlines are interpreted as faulted detachment folds, which initiated by buckling and associated flow of evaporites from synclinal to anticlinal areas. Anticlines were later broken by northwest-vergent thrusts and subsequently developed into fault-propagation folds during décollement from the basement and northwestward translation. The model assumes no faulting in the pre-Mesozoic basement and no hidden flat-ramp tectonics in the subsurface in order to account for structurally high positions. As a consequence, the modelled cumulative, post-deformation thickness of Triassic strata locally exceeds 1500 m, which we find in accordance with regional observations. From the geological 3D model, new cross-sections in any desired orientation and tectonic thickness variations of the layers can be extracted. The three output cross-sections presented are in excellent agreement with published reflection seismic data. The most important features of our model are (1) large thickness variations due to lateral flow of evaporites, and (2) new and plausible explanation of structural highs in terms of accumulation of Triassic strata by lateral flow.


3D modelling Jura Mountains Val de Ruz Detachment fold 



We thank A. Sommaruga, M. Frehner, and editor S. Schmid for careful reviews that helped substantially to improve the paper.

Supplementary material

15_2017_261_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (23 mb)
Input profiles C4, 5, 6, 7, and 9. See caption of Fig. 4 (PDF 23582 kb) (209 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (ZIP 214045 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss Geological Society 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Davood M. Yosefnejad
    • 1
  • Thorsten J. Nagel
    • 2
  • Nikolaus Froitzheim
    • 1
  1. 1.Steinmann-InstitutUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Department of GeoscienceAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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