Influence of viscosity contrast and anisotropy on strain accommodation in competent layers

Noel C. Toimil, Albert Griera

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Folds with different values of viscosity contrast and anisotropy have been simulated using the finite-difference code FLAC™. The kinematical analysis of these folds has enabled conclusions to be reached about strain accommodation mechanisms. The sequence of strain patterns in all the folds analysed only differs in the intensities of the different mechanisms involved, which depend on the mechanical properties of the folds. The order of the different strain patterns in the sequence is the same, regardless of the anisotropy and viscosity contrast. Strain accommodation in folds follows the patterns of tangential longitudinal strain, flexural flow and layer shortening. Nevertheless, no combination of these strain patterns can explain the shape of the folded layer at the inflection point and the high strain intensity values in the inner arc. These problems can only be solved by considering a variant of longitudinal tangential strain that is less intense than has classically been thought and combined with a heterogeneous distribution of flexural flow and layer shortening across the layer. The dependence of the different folding mechanisms on the mechanical properties has been used to devise a graphical method for estimating viscosity contrast and anisotropy from the intensities of the strain patterns in the sequence. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-801
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007


  • Folding
  • Kinematics
  • Strain
  • Strain pattern


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