Geometry and distribution of regional joint sets in a non-homogeneous stress field: case study in the Ebro basin (Spain)
ABSTRACT Three regional joint sets striking N–S, E–W and WNW–ESE affect the Tertiary rocks of the central Ebro basin. From analysis of their chronological relationships and spatial distribution, it is concluded that they correspond to two different tectonic events. The N–S set (oldest) and the E–W set (younger) are present in the southern and central sectors, while the WNW–ESE joint set predominates in the northern one. The N–S joints propagated in response to joint-normal and fluid loads under an intraplate stress field with SHmax oriented near N–S (related to forces caused by the convergence of Africa, Iberia and Europe and rifting at the Valencia trough) during the sedimentary infilling of the basin. These joints are only present in the southern part of the area. The E–W joint set in the southern-central sector records the same fracturing event as the WNW–ESE set does in the northern one. Its orientation was modified by the presence of the older N–S set in the south, which perturbed the regional stress field. The younger WNW–ESE and E–W joint sets are interpreted as unloading joints. These propagated as a consequence of flexural uplift and exhumation related to isostatic rebound at the Pyrenees and the Ebro foreland basin. A numerical approach is used to explain the inhomogeneous distribution of the N–S joint set in terms of their absence being controlled by the depth of the water table at the time of their formation.
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ABSTRACT: Analysing the paleostress field in sedimentary basins is important for understanding tectonic processes and the planning of drilling campaigns. The Subhercynian Basin of northern Germany is a perfect natural laboratory to study the paleostress field in a developing foreland basin. The simple layer-cake geometry of the basin-fill is dominated by several piercing and non-piercing salt structures. We derived the paleostress field from the orientation of fracture sets, faults, slickensides and stylolites. On a regional scale, the basin-fill is characterized by a horizontal compressional paleostress vector that is mainly NNE-SSW-oriented, which reflects the Late Cretaceous inversion phase in Central Europe. We show that the local paleostress field is distinctly perturbated due to the salt structures. Along the edge of the salt pillows, the maximum horizontal paleostress vector is deflected by up to 90° from the regional trend. In the case of the Elm salt pillow, it forms a radial pattern. Restoration of balanced cross-sections demonstrates at least 9 % of the shortening of the north-western part of the Subhercynian Basin was achieved by folding. The salt structures in the north-western Subhercynian Basin are the result of varying stress conditions. Initial extension in the Triassic caused first salt movements that prevailed during the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous. Most important is the Late Cretaceous contractional phase that shortened the diapirs and led to the formation of the salt pillows between diapirs due to detachment folding. We derive four main controlling factors for such salt-dominated contractional basins: (1) the wedge-shape basin-fill is the product of the dynamic load at the southern margin of the basin, (2) a basal salt layer fed the diapirs and acted as a detachment horizon during the later shortening, (3) detachment folding was the dominating deformation mechanism during contraction, and (4) the pre-existing diapirs controlled the position of the detachment folds.International Journal of Earth Sciences 05/2013; · 2.26 Impact Factor
- ACTA GEOLOGICA SINICA (English Edition). 07/2013; 87(12):139-141.
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ABSTRACT: An intense tectonic activity in eastern Sicily and southern Calabria (Italy) is well documented by the differential uplift of Late Quaternary coastlines and by the record of the strong historical earthquakes. The extensional belt that crosses this area is dominated by a well-established WNW-ESE-oriented stretching direction. However, this area is largely lacking of any structural analysis for defining the tectonics at a more local scale. The analysis of systematic extension joint sets affecting Pleistocene deposits presented in this paper allows to infer the causative tectonic stress tensor by means of a quantitative inversion technique. Local perturbations of the first-order regional stress field are consequently recognized. Such perturbations are interpreted as due to interferences between large active faults and their particular geometrical setting. These results contribute to the understanding of the Quaternary tectonic evolution and the present-day stress regime.Tectonics 03/2013; 32(2):239-251. · 3.49 Impact Factor