Identifying the characteristic signatures of fold-accommodation faults

Hongling Deng, Changhou Zhang, Hemin A. Koyi

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9 Scopus citations


Hand-specimen and outcrop scale examples of folds are analyzed here to identify the characteristic signatures of fold-accommodation faults. We describe and analyze the geometric and kinematic relationships between folds and their associated faults in detail including the structural position and spatial distribution of faults within a fold, the displacement distribution along the faults by applying separation-distance plots for the outcrop scale examples, and the change of cut-off angle when the fault cut across folded layers. A comparison between fold-accommodation faults and fault related folds based on their separation-distribution plots and the problem of time sequence between faulting and folding are discussed in order to distinguish fold-accommodation faults from the reverse faults geometrically and kinematically similar to them. The analysis results show that fold-accommodation faults originate and terminate within a fold and usually do not modify the geometry of the fold because of their limited displacement. The out-of-syncline thrust has a diagnostically negative slope (separation value decreasing away from the upper fault tip) in the separation-distance graph. The change of cut-off angle and the spatial distribution of faults display a close relationship with the axial surface of the fold. Our analyses show that fold-accommodation faults are kinematically consistent with the flexural slip of the fold. The interbedded strata with competence contrast facilitate formation of fold-accommodation faults. These characteristic signatures are concluded as a set of primary identification criteria for fold-accommodation faults.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Characteristic signatures
  • Fold-accommodation faults
  • Hand-specimen
  • Outcrop scale
  • Separation-distance plot


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