New study published in Scientific Reports on the development of complex normal fault systems

A group of scientists coordinated by the University of Padova in cooperation with the Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR-IGG) has obtained new data on the development of complex fault patterns in regions undergoing continental extension. The study has reproduced divergent plate boundaries characterized by complex stress fields (e.g. triple junctions) by means of analogue modelling experiments performed at the Tectonics Modelling Laboratory of CNR-IGG, Florence. The experiments have shown that, in complex conditions of tridimensional extension, deformation results in alternate, rather than simultaneous, development of faults with different trends. In these conditions, the local perturbation of the stress field related to the development of given structures significantly influences the geometry and orientation of structures which develop later, resulting in complex geometries of deformation. The analogue models show a typical instability of 3D extensional strain fields, which were traditionally modelled as homogeneous and stable.

Reference: Collanega L., Corti G., Breda A., Massironi M., Keir D. (2020). 3D extension at plate boundaries accommodated by interacting fault systems. Scientific Reports, 10:8669 | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65599-5  

Paper is available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-65599-5

For further information, please contact: Giacomo Corti, CNR-IGG (giacomo.corti(at)igg.cnr(dot)it).