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On the Orientation of Fractures with Transpressional and Transtensional Wrenches in Pre-Existing Faults

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Document pages: 11 pages

Abstract: The orientation of fractures with transpressional and transtensional wrenches in pre-existing faults has not been quantitatively determined. Based on Coulomb failure criterion and Byerlee’s frictional sliding criterion, this paper has indicated quantitative geometric relationships between the pre-existing fault and the local induced principal stress axes caused by the rejuvenation of the pre-existing fault. For a hidden pre-existing fault with some cohesion, the angles between the local induced principal stress axes and the pre-existing fault quantitatively vary with the applied stress and the cohesion coefficient, the ratio of the thickness of the cover layer to the thickness of the whole wrench body, whether transpressional or transtensional wrenches occur. For a surface pre-existing fault with zero cohesion, the angles between the pre-existing fault and the local induced principal stress axes are related to the rock inner frictional angle regardless of both the applied stress and the cohesion coefficient where transpressional wrenches occur, and the local induced maximum principal stress axis is identical with the applied maximum principal stress axis where transtensional wrenches occur. Therefore, the geometric relationships between the pre-existing faults and their related fractures are defined, because the local induced principal stress axes determine the directions of the related fractures. The results can be applied to pre-existing weak fabrics. They can help to understand and analyze wrench structures in outcrops or subsurface areas. They are of significance in petroleum exploration.

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