Nucleation and growth of dip-slip faults in a stable craton

M. H. Wallace, J. Kemeny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Analyzes the conditions for nucleation of a dip-slip fault in intact crust and its subsequent growth using linear elastic fracture mechanics and the finite element method. It is assumed that a fault can be modeled as a mode II shear crack in a layered elastic crust, and fault behaviour under conditions of a variable dip and shear fracture energy are investigated. It is suggested that fault nucleation and growth are a stable process which would preferentially occur by rupturing downward under stable conditions. Rerupturing of an established fault may initiate at depth or the surface depending on the degree of healing between rupture events and the tectonic stress available. A vast majority of shallow crustal earthquakes nucleate at the base of the seismogenic zone and rupture upwards. This suggests that most events are a reactivation of an old established fault and not growth of a new or developing fault. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7145-7157
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of geophysical research
Issue numberB5
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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