The characteristics of fault and shear zones to depths of 2.5 km are well documented in deep mines in North America. The characteristics may be summarized as follows. (a) Fault zones usually are irregular, branched, anastomosed, and curved rather than simple and planar. (b) Faults are generally composed of one or more clay or clay-like gouge zones in a matrix of sheared and foliated rock bordered by highly fractured rock. (c) The widths of fault zones appear to be greater when faults have greater displacement, probably as a result of a long history of repeated minor movements. Fault zones with kilometers of displacement tend to be 100 m or more wide, whereas those with only a few hundred meters of displacement commonly are only 1 m or less wide. (d) Some zones represent shear distributed across hundreds of meters without local concentration in a narrow gouge zone. (e) Many fault zones are wet even above the water table, and water moves along them at various rates, but some also serve as subsurface dams, ponding ground water as much as several hundred meters higher on one side than on the other. No striking differences in the characteristics of faults over the vertical range of 2.5 km are documented. ?? 1986 Birkha??user Verlag.
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Characteristics of faults and shear zones in deep mines