Fault zones cutting limestones and dolostones represent significant seismogenic sources worldwide. The structure of an exhumed strike-slip fault zone hosted in dolostones, the Borcola Pass Fault Zone (BPFZ, Italian Southern Alps), was studied by means of field and microstructural analysis. Ambient conditions of faulting were ca. 1.6-1.7 km and 50 °C. The BPFZ consists of a >80 m wide damage zone cut by three systems of sub-vertical secondary faults striking approximately N-S, E-W and NW-SE. N-S and E-W striking faults reactivated pre-existing Jurassic-Paleogene joints with spacing between 0.2 and 0.5 m, whereas NW-SE striking faults were newly formed during post-Paleogene activity associated with movements along the nearby Schio-Vicenza Line. The core of the BPFZ consists of dolostone fault rock lenses bound by slip zones up to 10 cm thick. Both the principal and secondary slip zones consist of cement-supported dolomitic cataclasites and dolomite-filled veins. Some slip zones contain a sub-centimeter thick "vein-like" cataclastic layer (Layer-A) located immediately beneath the slip surface that truncates another cataclasite below (Layer-B). Detailed microstructural and clast size distribution analysis suggests that Layer-A experienced fluidization (cuspate-lobate boundaries, injection structures, strong grain sorting: D < 1 for clast diameters smaller than 300 μm) possibly related to fast fault slip following seismic ruptures. In light of these observations a conceptual model is proposed for the formation of Layer-A, and the structure of the BPFZ is compared to that of an active seismogenic fault cutting carbonates. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Fault zone structure and seismic slip localization in dolostones, an example from the Southern Alps, Italy / Fondriest, M.; Smith, S. A. F.; Di Toro, G.; Zampieri, D.; Mittempergher, S.. - In: JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY. - ISSN 0191-8141. - 45:(2012), pp. 52-67. [10.1016/j.jsg.2012.06.014]