TS
Tectonics and Structural Geology

Must read papers

TS Must-Read – Brun (1999): Narrow rifts versus wide rifts: inferences for the mechanics of rifting from laboratory experiments

TS Must-Read – Brun (1999): Narrow rifts versus wide rifts: inferences for the mechanics of rifting from laboratory experiments

In 1999 Jean-Pierre Brun published his Must-Read paper about rifting, in which he reviews fifteen years of laboratory experiments at Geosciences Rennes. In a brief introduction the paper reminds the reader of the two main rift types: narrow rifting as the preceding stage for continental break-up, and wide rifting that occurs after cessation of convergence. The article introduces some key differenc ...[Read More]

TS Must Read – Scholz (1998): Earthquakes and friction laws

TS Must Read – Scholz (1998): Earthquakes and friction laws

Scholz (1998) is the “must-read” review article about rate- and state- variable laws of rock friction. The article is a robust introduction to the state-of-the art of the discipline at the end of the past century and should be considered of particular interest for students and/or early career scientists. In spite of its relative simplicity, rock mechanics unfortunately is still not taught universa ...[Read More]

TS Must-Read – Cowie (1998) A healing-reloading feedback control on the growth rate of seismogenic faults

TS Must-Read – Cowie (1998) A healing-reloading feedback control on the growth rate of seismogenic faults

This study provides a simple numerical model of fault rupture that describes the development of fault systems from the initial nucleation of numerous small faults to the localisation of deformation into few major faults. The model presented is based on two main considerations: first, earthquakes cause stress changes that can either advance or delay failure on neighbouring faults. Second, for failu ...[Read More]

TS Must Read paper – Foreland Basin Systems, DeCelles & Giles (1996)

TS Must Read paper – Foreland Basin Systems, DeCelles & Giles (1996)

Foreland Basin Systems, by DeCelles and Giles (1996), expands the concept of foreland basin into the more comprehensive and integrative concept of foreland basin systems. Foreland basin systems can be defined, as per this TS must-read paper, as compressional regions where various tectonic forces lead to flexural responses of a variable wavelength, which may in turn lead to up to four areas with po ...[Read More]

TS Must-Read – Caine et al., 1996 Fault zone architecture and permeability structure

TS Must-Read – Caine et al., 1996 Fault zone architecture and permeability structure

Caine et. al. (1996) is a cornerstone paper which describes, compares and quantifies brittle fault zones and their permeability (fluid flow) properties from observations. Doing so, the paper initiates the accumulation of information on the permeability of brittle fault zones described previously (Randolph and Johnson 1989; Scholz 2019; Byerlee 1993). The study begins by defining fault zones as com ...[Read More]

TS Must-Read – Cowie and Scholz (1992) – Physical explanation for the displacement-length relationship of faults using a post-yield fracture mechanics model

TS Must-Read – Cowie and Scholz (1992) – Physical explanation for the displacement-length relationship of faults using a post-yield fracture mechanics model

The Must-Read paper by Cowie and Scholz (1992) uses theory from fracture mechanics to explain fault growth and fault displacement profiles. The article initially points out the weaknesses in previous work, specifically highlighting how the abrupt termination of displacement profiles at fault tips would imply an infinite stress in the surrounding material. The paper then introduces a physical model ...[Read More]

TS Must-Read – Fossen and Tikoff (1993): The deformation matrix for simultaneous simple shearing, pure shearing and volume change, and its application to transpression-transtension tectonics

TS Must-Read – Fossen and Tikoff (1993): The deformation matrix for simultaneous simple shearing, pure shearing and volume change, and its application to transpression-transtension tectonics

With their milestone article in Journal of Structural Geology (Fossen and Tikoff, 1993)⁠ and its companion article in Tectonophysics (Tikoff and Fossen, 1993)⁠, the authors marked a step forward for the quantification of strain in the deep crust. These articles popularized a new approach, the deformation matrix. An easy solution to quantify strain in finite geological systems is to find continuous ...[Read More]

TS Must-read – Buck (1991): Modes of continental lithospheric extension

TS Must-read – Buck (1991): Modes of continental lithospheric extension

Buck (1991) aims at solving the  intense ‘70s and ‘80s tectonic debate concerning the way extension is accommodated in continental regions (see our previous blog posts here and here). His article explores the physical conditions that can lead to the three end-member modes of lithospheric extension in continents: core complex mode, wide rift mode and narrow rift mode. The three extensional modes th ...[Read More]

TS Must-Read – Molnar & England (1990): Late Cenozoic uplift of mountain ranges and global climate change: chicken or egg?

TS Must-Read – Molnar & England (1990): Late Cenozoic uplift of mountain ranges and global climate change: chicken or egg?

The idea that the Pleistocene glaciation was caused by a late Cenozoic rise of mountain ranges had been developed since the mid 19th century. Although this original idea did not hold, new arguments for a relation between a late Cenozoic uplift of mountains and global cooling were presented from the 1970s onward. These arguments focused on how increased surface elevations would affect the albedo, t ...[Read More]

TS Must-Read – England and Molnar (1990) Surface uplift, uplift of rocks, and exhumation of rocks

TS Must-Read – England and Molnar (1990) Surface uplift, uplift of rocks, and exhumation of rocks

With this paper, England and Molnar (1990) shed light on the recurrent confusion in the uses of terms ‘uplift’ and ‘exhumation’. The main focus is to clarify the difference between surface uplift, uplift of rocks, and exhumation by explaining the differences and the relations between these processes (Fig. 1). The manuscript also illustrates how other processes, such as changes in climate, can be m ...[Read More]