Fractures within granodiorite of the central Sierra Nevada, California, were studied to elucidate the mechanics of faulting in crystalline rocks, with emphasis on the nucleation of new fault surfaces and their subsequent propagation and growth. Within the study area the fractures form a single, subparallel array which strikes N50o-70oE and dips steeply to the S. Some of these fractures are identified as joints because displacements across the fracture surfaces exhibit dilation but no slip. The joints are filled with undeformed minerals, including epidote and chlorite. Other fractures are identified as small faults because they display left-lateral strike slip separations of up to 2m. Slickensides, developed on fault surfaces, plunge 0o-20o to the E. The faults occur parallel to, and in the same outcrop with, the joints. The faults are filled with epidote, chlorite, and quartz, which exhibit textural evidence of shear deformation. These observations indicate that the strike slip faults nucleated on earlier formed, mineral filled joints. Secondary, dilational fractures propagated from near the ends of some small faults contemporaneously with the left-lateral slip on the faults. These fractures trend 25o+ or -10o from the fault planes, parallel to the direction of inferred local maximum compressive stress. The faults did not propagate into intact rock in their own planes as shear fractures. -from Authors
Additional Publication Details
Nucleation and growth of strike slip faults in granite.