Development of joint sets in the vicinity of faults



Unlike regional joint patterns, fault-related joints can often be related to stress perturbations. Their patterns, which have seldom been described, are sometimes complex and difficult to decipher. The examples presented here are mainly joints associated with meter to decameter scale pre-existing faults in limestone. The joints mostly tend to be parallel or perpendicular to the faults with the occurrence of sets of diverging joints localized along the faults. The patterns presented are interpreted in the light of photoelastic models which enable the prediction of stress deviations linked to subtle morphological details on faults. These models show that many of the observed features can be interpreted as stress deviations linked to alternation of closed and open segments along the faults. Joints appear as excellent markers of the deviation of the major horizontal principal paleostress trajectories. A mechanical discussion based on the paradox of the absence of concentration of joints in zones of tensile stress concentration leads to the idea that joint propagation is assisted by contraction within the layers.


Stress Deviation Stress Perturbation Stress Trajectory Joint Pattern Tensile Stress Concentration 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géophysique et TectoniqueUniversité Montpellier IIFrance
  2. 2.Total, Paris la DéfenseFrance
  3. 3.Elf Aquitaine ProductionPauFrance

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