Primary and secondary faulting in the Najd fault system, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Open-File Report 79-1661



The Najd fault system is a major transcurrent (strike-slip) fault system of Proterozoic age in the Arabian Shield. The system is a braided complex of parallel and curved en echelon faults. Complex arrays of secondary structures including strike-slip, oblique-slip, thrust, and normal faults, together with folds and dike swarms, are associated with some major faults, particularly near their terminations. The secondary structures indicate that compressional and extensional and dilational conditions existed synchronously in different parts of the fault zone. The outcrop traces of faults and syntectonic dikes have been used to interpret the configuration of principal compressive stresses during formation of parts of the secondary fracture systems. Second-order deformation was a series of separate events in a complex episodic faulting history. Comparison with model studies indicates that master faults extended in length in stages and periodically developed arrays of secondary structures. Propagation of the major faults took place along splay trajectories, which inter-connected to form a subparallel sheeted and braided zone. Interpretation of the aeromagnetic maps indicates that the Najd system is broader at depth than the outcropping fault complex, and that more continuous structures underlie arrays of faults at surface. The fault pattern is mechanically explicable in terms of simple shear between rigid blocks beneath the exposed structures.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Primary and secondary faulting in the Najd fault system, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 79-1661
DOI 10.3133/ofr791661
Edition -
Year Published 1979
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey,
Description i, 26 p. ;28 cm.
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page