Faulted joints: Kinematics, displacement-length scaling relations and criteria for their identification

Scott J. Wilkins, Michael R. Gross, Michael Wacker, Yehuda Eyal, Terry Engelder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Structural geometries and kinematics based on two sets of joints, pinnate joints and fault striations, reveal that some mesoscale faults at Split Mountain, Utah, originated as joints. Unlike many other types of faults, displacements (D) across faulted joints do not scale with lengths (L) and therefore do not adhere to published fault scaling laws. Rather, fault size corresponds initially to original joint length, which in turn is controlled by bed thickness for bed-confined joints. Although faulted joints will grow in length with increasing slip, the total change in length is negligible compared to the original length, leading to an independence of D from L during early stages of joint reactivation. Therefore, attempts to predict fault length, gouge thickness, or hydrologic properties based solely upon D-L scaling laws could yield misleading results for faulted joints. Pinnate joints, distinguishable from wing cracks, developed within the dilational quadrants along faulted joints and help to constrain the kinematics of joint reactivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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