Styles of Faulting

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This Demonstration provides a three-dimensional illustration of the different styles of faulting (e.g., during earthquakes, but also for slow deformations), as determined by the strike direction of the fault clockwise against geographic North, the dip angle of the fault plane against the surface of the Earth, and the slip angle of the so-called hanging block (orange) against the foot wall block (white).


The and axes denote the local pressure and tension axes during faulting, respectively. denotes the slip direction of the hanging block. , , and are the plunge angles of the , , and neutral axes against the horizontal, respectively.


Contributed by: Frank Scherbaum,Nicolas Kuehn, and Björn Zimmermann (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The classification scheme is based on

C. Frohlich and K. D. Apperson, "Earthquake Focal Mechanisms, Moment Tensors, and the Consistency of Seismic Activity near Plate Boundaries," Tectonics, 11(2), 1992 pp. 279–296.

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