Revisiting the Hubbert-Rubey pore pressure model for overthrust faulting: Inferences from bedding-paralleldetachment surfaces within Middle Devonian gas shale, the Appalachian Basin, USA

Murat G. Aydin, Terry Engelder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both bedding-parallel slickensides and cleavage duplexes are forms of mesoscopic-scale detachment faulting populating black (Marcellus and Geneseo/Burket) and intervening gray (Mahantango) shales of the Middle Devonian, a section known for abnormal pore pressure below the Appalachian Plateau. The abundance and the orientation of slickensides and cleavage duplexes in the more organic-rich black shale relative to gray shale suggests that maturation-related abnormal pore pressure facilitates detachment, a mesoscopic manifestation of the Hubbert-Rubey pore pressure model for overthrust faulting. The former are discrete slip surfaces whereas the latter consists of nested, anastomosing slip surfaces, either cutting through bedding or on disrupted bedding surfaces stacked as mesoscopic versions of thrust duplexes. Cleavage duplexes are between a few cm and over 1m thick with their hanging walls commonly transported toward the Appalachian foreland, regardless of local limb dip. Cleavage duplexes are most common near the stratigraphic maximum flooding surface, the organic-rich section most prone to develop maturation-related pore pressure in the Middle Devonian gas shales. Bedding-parallel slickensides are somewhat more evenly distributed in the black shale but also found in overlying gray shale. In both black and gray shales, slickensides are more abundant on the limbs of folds, an indication of pore-pressure-related flexural-slip folding. On the macroscopic scale, the Pine Mountain Block of the Southern Appalachian Mountains was enabled by a basal detachment cutting along the Upper Devonian Chattanooga black shale which has a thermal maturity sufficient for the generation of abnormal pore pressure. The Pine Mountain block is a large-scale overthrust showing little evidence of collapse of the hinterland side, a credible example of a pore-pressure-aided overthrust fault block of the type envisioned by the Hubbert-Rubey model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-537
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Volume69
Issue numberPB
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology

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