Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Fault gouge dating: history and evolution

  • Peter Vrolijk (a1) (a2), David Pevear (a2) (a3), Michael Covey (a2) (a4) and Allan LaRiviere (a5)

Abstract

Radiometric dating of fault gouges has become a useful tool for regional tectonics studies and for exploring and understanding fault and earthquake processes. Methods to define the absolute age of faults achieved a solid scientific foundation almost 25 years ago when the development and application of illite age analysis for investigating sedimentary burial and thermal histories found a new potential application – defining the age of fold-and-thrust development. Since then, the methods have benefitted from further development and incorporation of the 40Ar/39Ar micro-encapsulation method and quantitative clay mineral evaluation to distinguish polytypes (Wildfire). These refinements to the methods have improved their application in fold-and-thrust terrains and have opened up applications in normal and strike-slip fault environments. Another important development is the use of absolute dating methods in retrograde clay gouges in which clays in a fault develop from igneous or metamorphic wall rocks that contain no clays. In addition, the method has also been shown to be useful at dating folds in fold-and-thrust belts. We think the method is now an established part of the geological toolkit, look forward to future fault structural and tectonic studies that incorporate fault ages and hope that researchers continue to probe and discover ways that the method can assist fault process studies, including earthquake fault studies.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All

This paper is based on the 2017 George Brown Lecture given by P. Vrolijk and was submitted for the special issue: ‘GG01 – Clays in faults and fractures + MI-03 clay mineral reaction progress in very low-grade temperature petrologic studies’ of ICC2017.

Guest Associate Editor: S.J. Kemp

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Boles, A., van der Pluijm, B., Mulch, A., Mutlu, H., Uysal, I. T. & Warr, L. N. (2015) Hydrogen and 40Ar/39Ar isotope evidence for multiple and protracted paleofluid flow events within the long-lived North Anatolian Keirogen (Turkey). Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16, 19751987.
Bui, H.B., Ngo, X.T., Khuong, T.H., Golonka, J., Nguyen, T.D., Song, Y., Itaya, T. & Yagi, K. (2017) Episodes of brittle deformation within the Dien Bien Phu Fault zone, Vietnam: evidence from K–Ar age dating of authigenic illite. Tectonophysics, 695, 5363.
Clauer, N., Zwingmann, H., Liewig, N. & Wendling, R. (2012) Comparative 40Ar/39Ar and K–Ar dating of illite-type clay minerals: a tentative explanation for age identities and differences. Earth-Science Reviews, 115, 7696.
Davids, C., Wemmer, K., Zwingmann, H., Kohlmann, F., Jacobs, J. & Bergh, S.G. (2013) K-Ar illite and apatite fission track constraints on brittle faulting and the evolution of the northern Norwegian passive margin. Tectonophysics, 608, 196211.
Duvall, A.R., Clark, M.K., van der Pluijm, B.A. & Li, C. (2011) Direct dating of Eocene reverse faulting in northeastern Tibet using Ar-dating of fault clays and low-temperature thermochronometry. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 304, 520526.
Fitz-Diaz, E., Hudleston, P., Tolson, G. & van der Pluijm, B. (2014) Progressive, episodic deformation in the Mexican fold–thrust belt (central Mexico): evidence from isotopic dating of folds and faults. International Geology Review, 56, 734755.
Fitz-Diaz, E. & van der Pluijm, B. (2013) Fold dating: a new Ar/Ar illite dating application to constrain the age of deformation in shallow crustal rocks. Journal of Structural Geology, 54, 174179.
Foland, K.A., Hubacher, F.A. & Arehartet, G.B. (1992) 40Ar/39Ar dating of very fine-grained samples: an encapsulated-vial procedure to overcome the problem of 39Ar recoil loss. Chemical Geology (Isotope Geoscience Section), 102, 269276.
Grathoff, G.H. & Moore, D.M. (1996) Illite polytype quantification using WILDFIRE-calculated patterns. Clays and Clay Minerals, 44, 835842.
Haines, S.H. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (2008) Clay quantification and Ar–Ar dating of synthetic and natural gouge: application to the Miocene Sierra Mazatán detachment fault, Sonora, Mexico. Journal of Structural Geology, 30, 525538.
Haines, S.H. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (2010) Dating the detachment fault system of the Ruby Mountains, Nevada: significance for the kinematics of low-angle normal faults. Tectonics, 29, 525538.
Haines, S.H. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (2012) Patterns of mineral transformations in clay gouge, with examples from low-angle normal fault rocks in the western USA. Journal of Structural Geology, 43, 232.
HainesS., Lynch S., Lynch E., Mulch, A., Valley, J.W. & van der Pluijm, B. (2016) Meteoric fluid infiltration in crustal-scale normal fault systems as indicated by δ18O and δ2H geochemistry and 40Ar/39Ar dating of neoformed clays in brittle fault rocks. Lithosphere, 8, 587600.
Hetzel, R., Zwingmann, H., Mulch, A., Gessner, K., Akal, C., Hampel, A., Güngör, T., Petschick, R., Mikes, T. & Wedin, F. (2013) Spatiotemporal evolution of brittle normal faulting and fluid infiltration in detachment fault systems: a case study from the Menderes Massif, western Turkey. Tectonics, 32, 364376.
Hnat, J.S. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (2014) Fault gouge dating in the Southern Appalachians, USA. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 126, 639651.
Kameda, J., Shimizu, M., Ujiie, K., Hirose, T., Ikari, M., Mori, J., Oohashi, K. & Kimura, G. (2015) Pelagic smectite as an important factor in tsunamigenic slip along the Japan Trench. Geology, 43, 155158.
Kirschner, D.L., Cosca, M.A., Masson, H. & Hunziker, J.C. (1996) Staircase 40Ar/39Ar spectra of fine-grained white mica: timing and duration of deformation and empirical constraints on argon diffusion. Geology, 24, 747750.
Kralik, M., Klima, K. & Riedmueller, G. (1987) Dating fault gouges. Nature, 327, 315317.
Lyons, J.B. & Snellenberg, J. (1971) Dating faults. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 82, 17491752.
Mahon, K.I. (1996) The New “York” regression: application of an improved statistical method to geochemistry. International Geology Review, 38, 293303.
Mancktelow, N., Zwingmann, H. & Mulch, A. (2016), Timing and conditions of clay fault gouge formation on the Naxos detachment (Cyclades, Greece). Tectonics, 35, 23342344.
Maxwell, D.T. & Hower, J. (1967) High-grade diagenesis and low-grade metamorphism of illite in the Precambrian Belt Series. American Mineralogist 52, 843857.
Moore, D.M. & Reynolds, R.C. (1989) X-Ray Diffraction and the Identification and Analysis of Clay Minerals. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Nemkin, S.R., Fitz-Díaz, E., van der Pluijm, B. & van der Voo, R. (2015) Dating synfolding remagnetization: approach and field application (central Sierra Madre Oriental, Mexico). Geosphere, 11, 16171628.
Och, D.J., Offler, R. & Zwingmann, H. (2014) Constraining timing of brittle deformation and fault gouge formation in the Sydney Basin. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 61, 337350.
Onstott, T.C., Mueller, C., Vrolijk, P.J. & Pevear, D.R. (1997) Laser 40Ar/39Ar microprobe analyses of fine-grained illite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 61, 38513861.
Pană, D.I. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (2015) Orogenic pulses in the Alberta Rocky Mountains: radiometric dating of major faults and comparison with the regional tectono-stratigraphic record. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 127, 480502.
Pevear, D.R., Vrolijk, P.J. & Longstaffe, F.J. (1997) Timing of Moab Fault displacement and fluid movement intergrated with burial history using radiogenic and stable isotopes. Pp. 4245 in: Geofluids II ’97: Contributions to the Second International Conference on Fluid Evolution, Migration and Interaction in Sedimentary Basins and Orogenic Belts (Hendry, J., Carey, P., Parnell, J., Ruffell, A. & Worden, R., editors). Geofluids Research Group, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Pevear, D.R. (1999) Illite and hydrocarbon exploration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 96, 34403446.
Plançon, A., Tsipurski, S.I. & Drits, V.A. (1985) Calculation of intensity distribution in the case of oblique texture electron diffraction. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 18, 191196.
Pleuger, J., Mancktelow, N., Zwingmann, H. & Manser, M. (2012) K-Ar dating of synkinematic clay gouges from Neoalpine faults of the Central, Western and Eastern Alps. Tectonophysics, 550, 116.
Rahl, J.M., Haines, S.H. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (2011) Links between orogenic wedge deformation and erosional exhumation: evidence from illite age analysis of fault rock and detrital thermochronology of syn-tectonic conglomerates in the Spanish Pyrenees. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 307, 180190.
Schleicher, A.M., van der Pluijm, B.A. & Warr, L.N. (2010) Nanocoatings of clay and creep of the San Andreas Fault at Parkfield, California. Geology, 38, 667670.
Schleicher, A.M., Boles, A. & van Der Pluijm, B.A. (2015) Response of natural smectite to seismogenic heating and potential implications for the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in the Japan Trench. Geology, 43, 755758.
Smeraglia, L., Billi, A., Carminati, E., Cavallo, A. & Doglioni, C. (2017) Field- to nano-scale evidence for weakening mechanisms along the fault of the 2016 Amatrice and Norcia earthquakes, Italy. Tectonophysics, 712–713, 156169.
Solum, J.G., van der Pluijm, B.A. & Peacor, D.R. (2005) Neocrystallization, fabrics and age of clay minerals from an exposure of the Moab Fault, Utah. Journal of Structural Geology, 27, 15631576.
Solum, J.G. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (2007) Reconstructing the Snake River–Hoback River Canyon section of the Wyoming thrust belt through direct dating of clay-rich fault rocks. Pp. 183196 in: Whence the Mountains? Inquiries into the Evolution of Orogenic Systems: A Volume in Honor of Raymond A. Price (Sears, J.W., Harms, T.A. & Evenchick, C.A., editors). Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Solum, J.G., Davatzes, N.C. & Lockner, D.A. (2010) Fault-related clay authigenesis along the Moab Fault: implications for calculations of fault rock composition and mechanical and hydrologic fault zone properties. Journal of Structural Geology, 32, 18991911.
Song, Y., Chung, D., Choi, S.J., Kang, I.M., Park, C., Itaya, T. & Yi, K. (2014) K-Ar illite dating to constrain multiple events in shallow crustal rocks: implications for the Late Phanerozoic evolution of NE Asia. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 95, 313322.
Środoń, J., Drits, V.A., McCarty, D.K., Hsieh, J.C. & Eberl, D.D. (2001) Quantitative X-ray diffraction analysis of clay-bearing rocks from random preparations. Clays and Clay Minerals, 49, 514528.
Środoń, J., Clauer, N. & Eberl, D.D. (2002) Interpretation of K-Ar dates of illitic clays from sedimentary rocks aided by modeling. American Mineralogist, 87, 15281535.
Środoń, J. (2002) Quantitative mineralogy of sedimentary rocks with emphasis on clays and with applications to K-Ar dating. Mineralogical Magazine, 66, 677687.
Surace, I.R., Clauer, N., Thélin, P. & Pfeifer, H.R. (2011) Structural analysis, clay mineralogy and K-Ar dating of fault gouges from Centovalli Line (Central Alps) for reconstruction of their recent activity. Tectonophysics, 510, 8093.
Tagami, T. (2012) Thermochronological investigation of fault zones. Tectonophysics, 538, 6785.
Tonai, S., Ito, S., Hashimoto, Y., Tamura, H. & Tomioka, N. (2016) Complete 40Ar resetting in an ultracataclasite by reactivation of a fossil seismogenic fault along the subducting plate interface in the Mugi Mélange of the Shimanto accretionary complex, southwest Japan. Journal of Structural Geology, 89, 1929.
Torgersen, E., Viola, G., Zwingmann, H. & Harris, C. (2014) Structural and temporal evolution of a reactivated brittle–ductile fault – part II: timing of fault initiation and reactivation by K-Ar dating of synkinematic illite/muscovite. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 407, 221233.
Torgersen, E., Viola, G., Zwingmann, H. & Henderson, I.H. (2015) Inclined K–Ar illite age spectra in brittle fault gouges: effects of fault reactivation and wall-rock contamination. Terra Nova, 27, 106113.
Tsipursky, S.I. & Drits, V.A. (1984) The distribution of octahedral cations in the 2:1 layers of dioctahedral smectites studied by oblique-texture electron diffraction. Clay Minerals, 19, 177193.
Uysal, I.T., Mutlu, H., Altunel, E., Karabacak, V. & Golding, S.D. (2006) Clay mineralogical and isotopic (K-Ar, δ 18 O, δD) constraints on the evolution of the North Anatolian Fault Zone, Turkey. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 243, 181194.
van der Pluijm, B.A., Hall, C.M., Vrolijk, P.J., Pevear, D.R. & Covey, M.C. (2001) The dating of shallow faults in the Earth's crust. Nature, 412, 172175.
van der Pluijm, B.A., Vrolijk, P.J., Pevear, D.R., Hall, C.M. & Solum, J. (2006) Fault dating in the Canadian Rocky Mountains; evidence for Late Cretaceous and early Eocene orogenic pulses. Geology, 34, 837840.
Verdel, C., Niemi, N. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (2011) Thermochronology of the Salt Spring fault: constraints on the evolution of the South Virgin–White Hills detachment system, Nevada and Arizona, USA. Geosphere, 7, 774784.
Viola, G., Zwingmann, H., Mattila, J. & Käpyaho, A. (2016) K-Ar illite age constraints on the Proterozoic formation and reactivation history of a brittle fault in Fennoscandia. Terra Nova, 25, 236244.
Vrolijk, P. & van der Pluijm, B.A. (1999) Clay gouge. Journal of Structural Geology, 21, 10391048.
Vrolijk, P., Urai, J.L. & Kettermann, M. (2016) Clay smear: Review of mechanisms and applications. Journal of Structural Geology, 86, 95152.
Wang, Y., Zwingmann, H., Zhou, L., Lo, C.H., Viola, G. & Hao, J. (2016) Direct dating of folding events by 40Ar/39Ar analysis of synkinematic muscovite from flexural-slip planes. Journal of Structural Geology, 83, 4659.
Yamasaki, S., Zwingmann, H., Yamada, K., Tagami, T. & Umeda, K. (2013) Constraining the timing of brittle deformation and faulting in the Toki granite, central Japan. Chemical Geology, 351, 168174.
Ylagan, R.F., Kim, C.S., Pevear, D.R. & Vrolijk, P.J. (2002) Illite polytype quantification for accurate K–Ar age determination. American Mineralogist, 87, 15361545.
Zwingmann, H. & Mancktelow, N. (2004) Timing of Alpine fault gouges. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 223, 415425.
Zwingmann, H., Offler, R., Wilson, T. & Cox, S.F. (2004) K–Ar dating of fault gouge in the northern Sydney Basin, NSW, Australia – implications for the breakup of Gondwana. Journal of Structural Geology, 26, 22852295.
Zwingmann, H., Yamada, K. & Tagami, T. (2010a) Timing of brittle deformation within the Nojima fault zone, Japan. Chemical Geology, 275, 176185.
Zwingmann, H., Mancktelow, N., Antognini, M. & Lucchini, R. (2010b) Dating of shallow faults: new constraints from the AlpTransit tunnel site (Switzerland). Geology, 38, 487490.
Zwingmann, H., Han, R. & Ree, J.-H. (2011) Cretaceous reactivation of the Deokpori Thrust, Taebaeksan Basin, South Korea, constrained by K–Ar dating of clayey fault gouge. Tectonics, 30, TC5015.

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Vrolijk et al. supplementary material
Vrolijk et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (13 KB)
13 KB

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed