The presence of clays in fault rocks influences both the mechanical and hydrologic properties of clay-bearing faults, and therefore it is critical to understand the origin of clays in fault rocks and their distributions is of great importance for defining fundamental properties of faults in the shallow crust. Field mapping shows that layers of clay gouge and shale smear are common along the Moab Fault, from exposures with throws ranging from 10 to ???1000 m. Elemental analyses of four locations along the Moab Fault show that fault rocks are enriched in clays at R191 and Bartlett Wash, but that this clay enrichment occurred at different times and was associated with different fluids. Fault rocks at Corral and Courthouse Canyons show little difference in elemental composition from adjacent protolith, suggesting that formation of fault rocks at those locations is governed by mechanical processes. Friction tests show that these authigenic clays result in fault zone weakening, and potentially influence the style of failure along the fault (seismogenic vs. aseismic) and potentially influence the amount of fluid loss associated with coseismic dilation. Scanning electron microscopy shows that authigenesis promotes that continuity of slip surfaces, thereby enhancing seal capacity. The occurrence of the authigenesis, and its influence on the sealing properties of faults, highlights the importance of determining the processes that control this phenomenon. ?? 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Additional publication details
Fault-related clay authigenesis along the Moab Fault: Implications for calculations of fault rock composition and mechanical and hydrologic fault zone properties