Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
Research article
18 May 2016
Research article |  | 18 May 2016

Mechanisms of clay smear formation in unconsolidated sediments – insights from 3-D observations of excavated normal faults

Michael Kettermann, Sebastian Thronberens, Oscar Juarez, Janos Lajos Urai, Martin Ziegler, Sven Asmus, and Ulrich Krüger

Related authors

Structure of massively dilatant faults in Iceland: lessons learned from high-resolution unmanned aerial vehicle data
Christopher Weismüller, Janos L. Urai, Michael Kettermann, Christoph von Hagke, and Klaus Reicherter
Solid Earth, 10, 1757–1784,,, 2019
Short summary
Dilatant normal faulting in jointed cohesive rocks: a physical model study
Michael Kettermann, Christoph von Hagke, Heijn W. van Gent, Christoph Grützner, and Janos L. Urai
Solid Earth, 7, 843–856,,, 2016
Short summary
Evolution of a highly dilatant fault zone in the grabens of Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA – integrating fieldwork, ground-penetrating radar and airborne imagery analysis
M. Kettermann, C. Grützner, H. W. van Gent, J. L. Urai, K. Reicherter, and J. Mertens
Solid Earth, 6, 839–855,,, 2015
Short summary

Related subject area

Structural geology
Natural fracture patterns at Swift Reservoir anticline, NW Montana: the influence of structural position and lithology from multiple observation scales
Adam J. Cawood, Hannah Watkins, Clare E. Bond, Marian J. Warren, and Mark A. Cooper
Solid Earth, 14, 1005–1030,,, 2023
Short summary
Rapid hydration and weakening of anhydrite under stress: implications for natural hydration in the Earth's crust and mantle
Johanna Heeb, David Healy, Nicholas E. Timms, and Enrique Gomez-Rivas
Solid Earth, 14, 985–1003,,, 2023
Short summary
Analogue experiments on releasing and restraining bends and their application to the study of the Barents Shear Margin
Roy Helge Gabrielsen, Panagiotis Athanasios Giannenas, Dimitrios Sokoutis, Ernst Willingshofer, Muhammad Hassaan, and Jan Inge Faleide
Solid Earth, 14, 961–983,,, 2023
Short summary
Structural framework and timing of the Pahtohavare Cu ± Au deposits, Kiruna mining district, Sweden
Leslie Logan, Ervin Veress, Joel B. H. Andersson, Olof Martinsson, and Tobias E. Bauer
Solid Earth, 14, 763–784,,, 2023
Short summary
Does the syn- versus post-rift thickness ratio have an impact on the inversion-related structural style?
Alexandra Tamas, Dan M. Tamas, Gabor Tari, Csaba Krezsek, Alexandru Lapadat, and Zsolt Schleder
Solid Earth, 14, 741–761,,, 2023
Short summary

Cited articles

Aydin, A. and Eyal, Y.: Anatomy of a normal fault with shale smear: Implications for fault seal, AAPG Bull., 86, 1367–1381,, 2002.
Bense, V. F. and Van Balen, R.: The effect of fault relay and clay smearing on groundwater flow patterns in the Lower Rhine Embayment, Basin Res., 16, 397–411,, 2004.
Bense, V. F., Van Balen, R. T., Vries, J. J. D., and De Vries, J. J.: The impact of faults on the hydrogeological conditions in the Roer Valley Rift System: an overview, Neth. J. Geosci., 82, 41–54, 2003a.
Bense, V. F., Van den Berg, E. H., and Van Balen, R. T.: Deformation mechanisms and hydraulic properties of fault zones in unconsolidated sediments; the Roer Valley Rift System, The Netherlands, Hydrogeol. J., 11, 319–332,, 2003b.
Bouvier, J. D., Kaars-Sijpesteijn, C. H., Kluesner, D. F., Onyejekwe, C. C., and van der Pal, R. C.: Three-dimensional seismic interpretation and fault sealing investigations, Nun River Field, Nigeria, AAPG Bull., 73, 1397–1414, 1989.
Short summary
We present exceptional 3-D outcrop data of clay smears in freshly cut trenches of Miocene unconsolidated deltaic clay–sand sequences in an active lignite quarry in the Lower Rhine Embayment. We aim to identify and investigate processes that entrain clay into a fault or breach of formed clay smear. We show the importance of host rock deformation, grain-scale mixing and source layering on clay smear geometry by providing 2-D cross sections and 3-D thickness data of complete clay smear sequences.