Regional Deformation by Block Translation and Rotation

  • Z. Garfunkel
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 254)


Deformation in the brittle part of the crust is often distributed on many faults which tend to form domains of conjugate fractures. Within each domain the fault blocks translate and rotate simultaneously, their motion being strongly governed by kinematic constraints. Blocks rotate about vertical axes where fault slip has a strike-parallel component (pure strike slip, oblique normal faults) and on horizontal axes where dip slip occurs. Relative to domain boundaries, the sense of rotation is opposite to the sense of the fault slip and away from the principal axis of shortening. In multi-domain areas the deformation is complicated in detail. The kinematic constraints may lead to geometric incompatibility between domains and may require formation of new structures in order to satisfy the externally imposed boundary conditions. However, as local shears and rotations in different senses and amounts can occur, the overall regional deformation may be quite simple. Mechanical constraints on fault motion control the amount of fault rotation and the formation of new structures, but these effects are difficult to evaluate, because the kinematic constraints can modify the stress field within faulted areas. The factors which allow fault slip and rotation to continue are also incompletely understood. Block systems that rotated on vertical and/or horizontal axes are decoupled to greater or lesser extents from the underlying mid-crustal ductile levels, but localized shear can probably lead to differential rotations of rock masses even below the decoupling zones. While block rotations related to faulting is probably more common than hitherto recognized, other mechanisms, e.g. motions of micro-plates or exotic terranes, may also cause rock masses to rotate about verical axes. Therefore paleomagnetic data on rotation must be combined with structural data in order to identify the contribution of faulting to block rotation.


Shear Zone Intact Rock Kinematic Constraint Fault Slip Regional Deformation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, E.M., 1951. The Dynamics of Faulting and Dyke Formation. Oliver and Byod, 206 p.Google Scholar
  2. Angelier, J., Colletta, B., 1983, Tension features and extensional tectonics. Nature, v. 301, p 49– 51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arthaud, F., Matte, P., 1977. Late Paleozoic strike-slip faulting in southern Europe and northern Africa: Result of a right lateral shear zone between the Appalachians and the Urals. Geol. Soc. America Bull., v. 88, p. 1305 – 320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck, M.E., 1980. Paleomagnetic record of plate-margin tectonic processes along the western edge of North America. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 85, p. 7115 – 7131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brace, W.F., Kohlstedt, D.L., 1980. Limits on lithospheric stress imposed by laboratory experiments. Jour. Geophy. Res., v. 85, p. 6248 – 6252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brun, J.P., Pons, J., 1981. Strain pattern of pluton emplacement in a crust undergoing non-coaxial deformation, Sierra Morena, Southern Spain. Jour. Structural Geology, v. 3, p. 219 – 229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burke, D.B., Hillhouse, L.W., McKee, E.H., Miller, S.T., Morton, J.L., 1982. Cenozoic rocks of the Barstow area of southern California - stratigraphic relations, radiometric ages and paleomagnetism. U.S. Geol. Survey Bull. 1529–E, 16 p.Google Scholar
  8. Burg, J.P., Iglesias, M., Laurent, Ph., Matte, Ph. Ribiero, A., 1981. Variscan intracontinental deformation: The Coimba-Cordoba shear zone (SW Iberian Peninsula). Tectonophysics, v. 78, p. 161 – 177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Byerlee, J.D., 1978. Friction in rocks. Pure and Applied Geophysics, v. 116, p. 615 - 626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Calderone, G., Butler, F.R., 1984. Paleomagnetism of Miocene volcanic rocks from southwestern Arizona. Geology, v. 12, p. 627 – 630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carter, N.L., Tsenn, M.C., 1987. Flow properties of the continental lithosphere. Tectonophysics, v. 136, p. 25 – 64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Castro, A., 1985. The central Extramadura Batholith: geotectonic implications (European Hercynian) - an outline. Tectonophysics, v. 120, p. 57 – 68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cheadle, M.J., and 7 others, 1986. The deep crustal structure of the Mojave Desert, California from COCORP reflection data. Tectonics, v. 5, p. 293 – 320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chen, W.P., Molnar, P., 1983. Focal depths of intracontinental and intraplate earthquakes and their implications for the thermal and mechanical properties of the lithosphere. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 88, p. 4183 – 4214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davies, F.B., 1982. Pan-African granite intrusion in response to tectonic volume changes in a ductile shear zone from northern Saudi Arabia. Jour. Geology, 90, 467 – 483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dietrich, J.H., 1986. A model for the nucleation of earthquake slip. AGU Monograph 37 (Maurice Ewing series, v. 6), p. 37 – 47.Google Scholar
  17. Eyal, M., Eyal, Y., Bartov, Y., Steinitz, G., 1981. The tectonic development of the western margin of the Gulf of Elat (Aqaba) Rift. Tectonophysics, v. 80, p. 39 – 66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Freund, R., 1980. Rotation of strike slip faults in Sistan, Iran. Jour. Geology, v. 78, p. 188 – 200.Google Scholar
  19. Freund, R., 1974. Kinematics of transform and transcurrent faults. Tectonophysics, v. 21, p. 93– 134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garfunkel, Z., 1974. Model for the Late Cenozoic tectonic history of the Mojave Desert, California, and for its relations to adjacent regions. Geol. Soc. America, Bull., v. 85, p. 1931-Google Scholar
  21. Garfunkel, Z., Ron, H., 1985. Block rotation and deformation by strike slip faults 2. The properties of a type of macroscopic discontinuous deformation. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 90, p. 8589 – 8602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Granier, T., 1985. Origin, damping, and pattern of development of faults in granite. Tectonics, v. 4, p. 721 – 737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hague, T.A. and 10 others, 1987. Crustal structure of western Nevada from COCORP deep seismic-reflection data. Geol. Soc. America Bull., v. 98, p. 320 – 329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harding, T.P., 1985. Seismic characristics and identification of negative flower structures, positive flower structures and positive structural inversion. Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. Bull., v. 69, p. 582 – 600.Google Scholar
  25. Hauser, E., and 9 others, 1987. Crustal structure of eastern Nevada from COCORP deep seismic- reflection data. Geol. Soc. America Bull., v. 98, p. 833 – 844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hancock, P.L., 1985. Brittle microtectonics: principles and practice. Jour. Structural Geol., v. 7, p. 437 – 457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Handin,, J., 1969. On the Coulomb-Mohr failure criterion. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 84, p. 5343– 5348.Google Scholar
  28. Hoeppener, R., Kalthoff, E., Schrader, P., 1969. Zur physikalischen Tektonik: Bruchbildung bei verschiedenen Deformationen im Experiment. Geol. Rundschau, 59, 179 – 193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hornafius, J.S., Luyendyk, P.B., Terres, R.R., Kamerling, M.J., 1986. Timing and extent of Neogene tectonic rotation in the western Transverse *ranges, California. Geol. Soc. America, Bull., v. 97, p. 1476 – 1487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hudson, M.R., Geissman, W.J., 1987. Paleomagnetic and structural evidence for Middle Tertiary counterclockwise block rotation in the Dixie valley region, west-central Nevada. Geology, v. 15, p. 638 – 642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jaeger, J.C., Cook, N.G.W., 1979. Fundamentals of Rock Mechanics. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 593 p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jagouzo, P., 1980. The south Armorican shear zone. Jour. Structural Geology, v. 2, p. 39 – 47.Google Scholar
  33. Keen, C.E., Stockmal, G.S., Welsink, H., Quinlan, G., Mudford, B., 1987. Deep crustal structure and evolution of the rifted margin northeast of Newfoundland: results from LITHOPROBE East. Canad. J. Earth Sci., v. 24, p. 1537 – 1549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kissel, C., Laj, C., 1987. The Tertiary geodynamical evolution of the Aegean arc: a paleomagnetic reconstruction. Tectonophysics, v. 146, p. 183 – 201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kissel, C., Laj, C., Sengor, A.M.C., Poisson, A., 1987. Paleomagnetic evidence for rotation in opposite senses of adjacent blocks in northeastern Aegea and western Anatolia. Geophys. Res. Letters, v. 14, p. 907 – 910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lockwood, J.P., Moore, J.G., 1979. Regional deformation of the Sierra Nevada, California, on conjugate microfault sets. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 84, p. 6041 – 6049.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Luyendyk, B.P., Kamerling, M.J., Terres, R.R., Hornafius, J.S., 1985. Simple shear of southern California during Neogene time suggested by paleomagnetic declinations. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 90, p. 12454 – 12466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Malvern, L.E., 1969. Introduction to the Mechanics of a Continuous Medium. Prentice-Hall, N.J., 713 p.Google Scholar
  39. Mase, G.E., 1970. Continuum Mechanics. Schaum’s Outline Series, McGraw- Hill, New York, 221 p.Google Scholar
  40. McGarr, A., 1980. Some constraints on levels of shear stress in the crust from observations and theory. Jour. Geophys. Res. v. 85, p. 6231 – 6238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McKenzie, D., 1978. Some remarks on the development of sedimentary basins. Earth Planet. Sci. Letters, v. 40, p. 25 – 32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McKenzie, D., Jackson, J., 1983. The relationship between strain rates, crustal thickening, paleomagnetism, finite strain and fault movements within a deforming zone. Earth. Planet. Sci. Letters, v. 65, p. 182 – 202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McKenzie, D., Jackson, J., 1986. A block model of distributed deformation by faulting. Jour. Geol. Soc. London, v. 143, p. 349 – 353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Meissner, R., Strehlau, J., 1982. Limits of stresses in continental crust and their relation to the depth-frequency distribution of shallow earthquakes. Tectonics, v. 1, p. 73–89.Google Scholar
  45. Molnar, P, Tapponier, P., 1975. Cenozoic tectonics of Asia: Effects of a continental collision.Science, v. 189 p. 419–426.Google Scholar
  46. Montadert, L., Roberts, D.G., De Chapral, O., Guennoc, P., 1979. Riftingand subsidence of the northern continental margin of the Bay of Biscay. I nit. Reports DSDP, v. 48. p. 1025–1060. US Gov’t Printing Office, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  47. Moore, J.McM., 1979. Tectonics of the Najd transcurrent fault system, Saudi Arabia. Jour. Geol.Soc. London, v. 136, p. 441–452.Google Scholar
  48. Moretti, I., Colletta, B., 1987. Spatial and temporal evolution of the Suez rift subsidence. Jour. Geodynamicsv. 7, p. 151–168.Google Scholar
  49. Morrow, C.A., Shi, L.Q., Byerlee, J.D., 1982. Strain hardening and strength of clay-rich gouges.Jour. Geophys. Res. v. 87 p. 6771–6780.Google Scholar
  50. Nicholson, C., Seeber, L., Williams, P., Sykes, L.R., 1986. Seismic evidence for conjugate slip and block rotation within the San Andreas fault system, southern California. Tectonics, v. 5, p. 629–648.Google Scholar
  51. Nur, A., Ron, H., Scotti, O., 1986. Fault mechanics and the kinematics of block rotations.Geology v. 14 p. 746–749.Google Scholar
  52. Oertel, G., 1965. The mechanism of faulting in clay experiments. Tectonophysics v. 2, p. 343– 393.Google Scholar
  53. Paterson, M.S., 1978. Experimental rock deformation - the brittle field. Springer Verlag. 254 p. Percevault, M.N., Cobbold, P.R., 1982. Mathematical removal of regional ductile strains in central Brittany: evidence for wrench tectonics.Tectonophysics, v. 82, p. 317 – 328.Google Scholar
  54. Proffett, J.M.Jr., 1977. Cenozoic geology of the Yerington district, Nevada, and implications for the nature and origin of Basin and Range faulting. Geol. Soc. America Bull., v. 88, p. 247 – 266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ransome, F.L., Emmons, W.H., Garrey, G.H., 1910. Geology and ore deposits of the Bullfrog district, Nevada. U.S. Geol. Survey, Bull. no. 407, 130 p.Google Scholar
  56. Reches, Z., Dietrich, J., 1983. Faulting of rocks in a three-dimensionalstrain field. I. Failure of rocks in polyaxial, servo-control experiments. Tectonophysics, v. 95, p. 111 – 132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Research Group for Active Faulting of Japan, 1980. Map of active faults in and around Japan, Scale 1:2 000 000. Univ. Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
  58. Ron, H., Freund, R., Garfunkel, Z., Nur, A., 1984. Block rotation by strike slip faulting: structural and paleomagnetic evidence. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 89, p. 6256 – 6270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ron, H., Aydin, A., Nur, A., 1986. Strike-slip faulting and block rotation in the Lake Mead fault system. Geology, v. 14, p. 1020 – 1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Segall, P., Pollard, D.D., 1983. Nucleation and growth of strike slip faults in granite. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 88, p. 555 – 568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sibson, R.H., 1983. Continental fault structure and the shallow earthquake source. Jour. Geol. Soc. London, v. 140, p. 741 – 767.Google Scholar
  62. Smith, R.B., Bruhn, R.L., 1984. Intraplate extensional tectonics of the eastern Basin-Range: Inferences on structural style from seismic reflection data, regional tectonics, and thermo- mechanical models of brittle-ductile deformation. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 89, p. 5733 – 5762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Stewart, J.H., 1980. Regional tilt patterns of Late Cenozoic Basin- Range blocks, western United States. Geol. Soc. America Bull., v. 91 (part I), p. 460 – 464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Thompson, G.A., 1960. Problem of the Late Cenozoic structure of the Basin Ranges. Internat. Geol. Congress 21 (Copenhagen), v. 18, p. 62 – 68.Google Scholar
  65. Tullis, J.A., Snoke, A.W., Todd, V.R., 1982. Penrose conference report on significance and petrogenesis of mylonitic rocks. Geology, v. 10, p. 227 – 230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Webb, T.H., Kanamori, H., 1985. Earthquake focal mechanisms in the Eastern Transverse Ranges and San Emigdio Mountains, southern California, and evidence for a regional decollement. Bull. SeismoL Soc. America, v. 75, p. 737 – 757.Google Scholar
  67. Wells, R.E., Coe, R.S., 1985. Paleomagnetism and geology of Eocene volcanic rocks of southwest Washington, implications for mechanisms of tectonic rotations. Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 90, p. 1925 – 1947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wilcox, R.E., Harding, T.P., Seely, D.R., 1973. Basic wrench tectonics. Amer. Assoc. Petroleum Gol Bull, v. 57, p. 74 – 96.Google Scholar
  69. Woodcock, N., 1986. The role of strike-slip fault systems at plate boundaries. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. London, v. A347, p. 13 – 29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. Garfunkel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyHebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations