CSDMS 2015 annual Meeting - Models meet data, data meet models

Exploring the influence of fault damage and fault slip on the patterns and rates of fluvial incision using CHILD and Matlab

Sam Roy

Maine University, United States
Phaedra Upton GNS Science New Zealand
Peter Koons Maine University United States
Greg Tucker University of Colorado, Boulder United States

The interplay between tectonics and surface processes has long been recognized and explored through field observations, laboratory studies, and analogue and numerical modeling. However, the dependencies that link tectonics and the surface are complex and often difficult to unravel and visualize with current methods and concepts. To address these difficulties, it is common to create predictive models with algorithms that simplify these natural processes and limit their dependencies on one another.

In this clinic, we share some simple methods for isolating two tectonic processes: fault damage and fault slip, and explore how they influence the rates and patterns of surface processes. These tectonic processes are introduced as 3D patterns of rock damage and kinematics in a landscape evolution model using Matlab and CHILD. First, we discuss methods for scaling rock damage to erodibility for use in a stream power model. The erodibility field is based on the generic 3D geometry of planar fault damage zones. Next, we include fault slip by using a 3D kinematic solution for dip-slip, oblique-slip, and strike-slip motion. These models include a single slip plane that divides a block of crust into fixed and mobile components. Finally, we combine the rock damage and kinematic fields to observe their combined influence. In these combined models, rock damage becomes a function of the amount of motion accommodated by the slip plane. Throughout the clinic we will explain our methods, interpret model results, discuss their limitations, and postulate ways to improve upon them. The simple methods we employ in this clinic lay a foundation of understanding that can be broadened by use of dynamic, fully coupled models.

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Of interest for:
  • Terrestrial Working Group
  • Geodynamics Focus Research Group