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Growth faults & syntectonic growth strata

Gravity-driven growth faults and growth-faulted sedimentary successions have been identified in many parts of the world, often associated with economically important hydrocarbon ressources. However, few studies have targeted a detailed tectonic-sedimentary analysis of these systems, and therefore several issues concerning their development remain unsolved. Questions particularly arise when discussing (1) the relative importance of the main controlling factors for syn-sedimentary fault growth and syn-tectonic deposition, and the possibility to quantify these; (2) the mechanisms that control the initiation, activity and abandonment of kilometre-scale growth-fault-bound depocentres, including the explanation of the diverse structural development of the bounding faults concerning scale, dip direction, and fault movement; and (3) the predictability of lithological properties of growth successions from geophysical subsurface data lacking well or outcrop control. This study tackles the above issues by applying three different geological analysis approaches, 1) outcrop-based field work, 2) high-resolution remote-sensing analysis, and 3) 2D/3D seismic interpretation to several large-scale growth-fault systems located in different geographic and geological settings. The quantification and comparative analysis of the results from the different approaches and settings will allow to separate setting- or approach-specific observations from system-immanent information, exposing fundamental rules behind the development of growth faults and growth stratigraphy.

Associated researchers: Stefan Back