Fault: Strike-slip

How does a horizontal fault move?

Strike-slip faults are vertical (or nearly vertical) fractures where the blocks have mostly moved horizontally. The fault motion of a strike-slip fault is caused by shearing forces. If the block on the far side of the fault moves to the left, as shown in this animation, the fault is called left-lateral. If the block on the far side moves to the right, the fault is called right-lateral Other names: transform, transcurrent fault, lateral fault, tear fault or wrench fault. Examples: San Andreas Fault, California; Anatolian Fault, Turkey.


Keypoints:

  • Strike-slip motion is horizontal
  • The fault is vertical, or nearly vertical
  • It can be right lateral or left lateral

Total Time: 18s
Level: Novice

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Silly Putty™ allows students to discover that the structure we see in rocks provides evidence for they type of stress that formed. Students apply this idea by examining images of faults and folds experimentation with sponge models.

The faults and folds in rocks provide evidence that the rocks are subjected to compressional, tensional, and/or shear stress.

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In a normal fault, the block above the fault moves down relative to the block below the fault. This fault motion is caused by tensional forces and results in extension. Other names: normal-slip fault, tensional fault or gravity fault. Examples: Sierra Nevada/Owens Valley; Basin & Range faults.

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In a reverse fault, the block above the fault moves up relative to the block below the fault. This fault motion is caused by compressional forces and results in shortening. A reverse fault is called a thrust fault if the dip of the fault plane is small. Other names: thrust fault, reverse-slip fault or compressional fault]. Examples: Rocky Mountains, Himalayas.

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Oblique-slip faulting suggests both dip-slip faulting and strike-slip faulting. It is caused by a combination of shearing and tension or compressional forces. Nearly all faults will have some component of both dip-slip (normal or reverse) and strike-slip, so defining a fault as oblique requires both dip and strike components to be measurable and significant.

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A transform fault is a type of strike-slip fault wherein the relative horizontal slip is accommodating the movement between two ocean ridges or other tectonic boundaries. They are connected on both ends to other faults.

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Left-lateral fault strike slip fault with little or no friction along fault contact. There is no deformation of the rock adjacent to contact. If the block opposite an observer looking across the fault moves to the left, the motion is termed left lateral.
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Left-lateral fault strike slip fault with low friction along fault contact. There is no deformation of the rock adjacent to contact. If the block opposite an observer looking across the fault moves to the left, the motion is termed left lateral. Example: the San Andreas Fault of California
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View looking into a fault zone with a single asperity. Regional right lateral strain puts stress on the fault zone. A single asperity resists movement of the green line which deforms before finally rupturing.

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Animation shows the buildup of stress along the margin of two stuck plates that are trying to slide past one another. Stress and strain increase along the contact until the friction is overcome and rock breaks.

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