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Active Faulting


In 1994 the committee on continental drilling of the International Lithosphere Program considered a wide range of scientific issues that can and should be addressed by drilling. A number of projects related to active faulting were discussed as part of the lithosphere dynamics (Zoback and Emmermann, 1994). The scientific problems were formulated by a series of the following fundamental questions:

  • What are the stresses that are required to cause fault slip?
  • What factors determine whether a fault zone is seismic, aseismic or weak?
  • What controls the nucleation, propagation, arrest, and recurrence of earthquake rupture? The size of an earthquake?
  • What is the role of fluids in fault processes and where do they originate?
  • How do fault zone structure, composition, deformation mechanisms, change with depth?
  • How do surface geophysical observations relate to fault zone properties?
  • Are ancient exhumed fault zones valid representatives of active fault zones?
  • Are large earthquakes predictable?
  • Are there fundamental diferrences between the seismic responses of large-scale faults in oceanic versus continental settings, and between strike-slip, thrust and normal faults?

(by Ze'ev Reches & Hisao Ito, 2005)