Finite element modelling of the pull-apart formation: implication for tectonics of Bengo Co pull-apart basin, southern Tibet
Ganesh Raj Joshi, Daigoro Hayashi
DOI: 10.4236/ns.2010.26082   PDF   HTML     6,936 Downloads   12,503 Views   Citations


The tectonic deformation and state of stress are significant parameters to understand the active structure, seismic phenomenon and overall ongoing geodynamic condition of any region. In this paper, we have examined the state of stress and crustal deformation during the formation of the Beng Co pull-apart basins produced by an enéchelon strike-slip fault systems using 2D Finite Element Modelling (FEM) under plane stress condition. The numerical modelling technique used for the experiments is based on FEM which enables us to analyze the static behavior of a real and continues structures. We have used three sets of models to explore how the geometry of model (fault overlap and pre-existing weak shear zone) and applied boundary conditions (pure strike-slip, transpressional and transtensional) influence the development of state of stress and deformation during the formation of pull-apart basins. Modelling results presented here are based on five parameters: 1) distribution, orienttation, and magnitude of maximum (σH max) and minimum (σH max) horizontal compressive stress 2) magnitude and orientation of displacement vectors 3) distribution and concentration of strain 4) distribution of fault type and 5) distribution and concentration of maximum shear stress (σH max) contours. The modelling results demonstrate that the deformation pattern of the en-échelon strike-slip pull-apart formation is mainly dependent on the applied boundary conditions and amount of overlap between two master strike-slip faults. When the amount of overlap of the two master strike-slip faults increases, the surface deformation gets wider and longer but when the overlap between two master strike-slip faults is zero, block rotation observed significantly, and only narrow and small surface deform ation obtained. These results imply that overlap between two master strike-slip faults is a significant factor in controlling the shape, size and morphology of the pull-apart basin formation. Results of numerical modelling further show that the pattern of the distribution of maximum shear stress (τmax) contours are prominently depend on the amount of overlap between two master strike-slip faults and applied boundary conditions. In case of more overlap between two masters strike-slip faults, τ max mainly concentrated at two corners of the master faults and that reduces and finally reaches zero at the centre of the pull-apart basin, whereas in case of no overlap, τmax largely concentrated at two corners and tips of the master strike-slip faults. These results imply that the distribution and concentration of the maximum shear stress is mainly governed by amount of overlap between the master strike-slip faults in the en-échelon pull-apart formation. Numerical results further highlight that the distribution patterns of the displacement vectors are mostly dependent on the amount of overlap and applied boundary conditions in the en-échelon pull-apart formation.

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Joshi, G. and Hayashi, D. (2010) Finite element modelling of the pull-apart formation: implication for tectonics of Bengo Co pull-apart basin, southern Tibet. Natural Science, 2, 654-666. doi: 10.4236/ns.2010.26082.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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