Looking for patterns in fault populations



A special meeting of the United Kingdom Tectonic Studies Group was convened in Edinburgh in October 1994 to discuss the origin and significance of scaling relationships in fault and fracture populations. Scaling relationships are a statistical description of the size-frequency distributions of fault attributes such as length and displacement, the correlation between the displacement on a fault and its length, and the spatial pattern of faulting. Such relationships have been used in practical applications to extrapolate the relative numbers, the position, and the strain contribution of faults that lie below the resolution limit of a particular observational technique. Scaling techniques represent a potentially powerful tool for interpreting and modeling fault structure in the brittle crust and, ideally, predicting deformation-controlled permeability.