AuthorsJ. Ye, M. Liu and H. Wang
TitleA numerical study of strike-slip bend formation with application to the Salton Sea pull-apart basin
AfilliationScientific Computing
Project(s)No Simula project
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Pagination1368 - 1374
Date PublishedApr-03-2016

How stepovers of strike-slip faults connect to form bends is a question important for understanding the formation of push-up ranges (restraining bends) and pull-apart basins (releasing bends). We investigated the basic mechanics of this process in a simple three-dimensional viscoelastoplastic finite element model. Our model predicts localized plastic strain within stepovers that may eventually lead to the formation of strike-slip bends. Major parameters controlling strain localization include the relative fault strength, geometry of the fault system, and the plasticity model assumed. Using the Drucker-Prager plasticity model, in which the plastic yield strength of the crust depends on both shear and normal stresses, our results show that a releasing bend is easier to develop than a restraining bend under similar conditions. These results may help explain the formation of the Salton Sea pull-apart basin in Southern California 0.5–0.1 Ma ago, when the stepover between the Imperial Fault and the San Andreas Fault was connected by the Brawley seismic zone.

Citation Key25567