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Impacts of data sampling on the interpretation of normal fault propagation and segment linkage

Tao, Ze and Alves, Tiago M. 2019. Impacts of data sampling on the interpretation of normal fault propagation and segment linkage. Tectonophysics 762 , pp. 79-96. 10.1016/j.tecto.2019.03.013

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Abstract

Throw-distance (T-D) and throw-depth (T-Z) plots are widely used by researchers and industry to examine the growth of normal faults. This study uses high-quality three-dimensional (3D) seismic and outcrop information to review the effect of data sampling on the interpretation of normal fault growth. The results show that the accuracy of T-D and T-Z data, and of resulting fault slip tendency and leakage factor analyses, are dependent on the sampling strategy followed by interpreters and field geologists, i.e. on a Sampling Interval/Fault Length Ratio (δ) for discrete structures. In particular, this work demonstrates that significant geometric changes in T-D plots occur when a Module Error (εi) for the ratio δ is larger than 6%–9% for faults of all scales and growth histories. This implies that a minimum number of measurements should be gathered on discrete faults to produce accurate T-D and T-Z plots, and that the number of measurements is dependent on fault length. With no prior knowledge of fault segmentation, a δ value of 0.05 should be applied when interpreting faults to fulfil the pre-requisite of a ɛi < 6–9%. In all faults analysed, slip tendency and leakage factors were systematically misrepresented with increasing δ values. To disregard the limits proposed in this work results in: 1) a systematic underrepresentation of the isolated fault growth model, 2) a systematic misrepresentation of fault geometries and related damage zones, 3) the collation of erroneous fault scaling relationships, and 4) ultimately, unreliable interpretations of fault sealing properties. Hence, this work presents a new tool for interpreters and structural geologists to understand the sampling strategies necessary to obtain accurate fault throw and displacement data at different scales of analysis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0040-1951
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 16 March 2019
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 02:43
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/122350

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