Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Geological Magazine 153, iss. 5/6 (2016), pp. 845–865. doi 10.1017/S0016756816000431


Copyright © 2016 Cambridge University Press. Used by permission.


The reactivation potential of pre-existing deep-seated structures influences deformation structures produced in subsequent compression. This contribution investigates thrust geometries produced in surface thrust sheets of the Sawtooth Range, Montana, USA, deforming over a previously faulted sedimentary section. Surface thrust fault patterns were picked using existing maps and remote sensing. Thrust location and regional transport direction was also verified in the field. These observations were used to design a series of analogue models, involving deformation of a brittle cover sequence over a lower section with varying numbers of vertical faults. A final model tested the effect of decoupling the upper cover and lower section with a ductile detachment, in a scenario closer to that of the Sawtooth Range. Results demonstrate that complexity in surface thrust sheets can be related to heterogeneity within the lower sedimentary section, even when there is a detachment between this section and the rest of the cover. This complexity is best observed in the map view, as the models do not show the deep-seated faults propagating into the cover. These results were then used to predict specific locations of discrete basement fault strands in the study area, associated with what is generally mapped as the Scapegoat-Bannatyne Trend. The deep-seated faults are more likely to be reactivated as strike-slip features in nature, given the small obliquity between the ENE-directed compression direction and the NE-oriented basement faults. More generally, these results can be used to govern evaluation of thrust belts deforming over faulted basement, and to predict the locations of specific fault strands in a region where this information is unknown