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Title: Mechanical models to estimate the paleostress state from igneous intrusions
Authors: Stephens, Tara L.
Walker, Richard J.
Healy, David
Bubeck, Alodie
England, Richard W.
First Published: 9-Jul-2018
Publisher: European Geosciences Union (EGU)
Citation: Solid Earth, 2018, 9 (4), pp. 847-858
Abstract: Dikes and sills represent an important component of the deformation history in volcanic systems, but unlike dikes, sills are typically omitted from traditional paleostress analyses in tectonic studies. The emplacement of sheet intrusions is commonly associated with Mode I fracturing in a low deviatoric stress state, in which dilation is perpendicular to the fracture plane. Many natural examples of sills and dikes, however, are observed to accommodate minor shear offsets, in addition to a component of dilation. Here we present mechanical models for sills in the San Rafael subvolcanic field, Utah, which use field-based measurements of intrusion attitude and opening angles to constrain the tectonic stress axes during emplacement and the relative magma pressure for that stress state. The sills display bimodal dips to the NE and SW and consistent vertical opening directions, despite variable sill dips. Based on sill attitude and opening angles, we find that the sills were emplaced during a phase of NE-SW horizontal shortening. Calculated principal stress axes are consistent (within ĝ1/4ĝ€4°) with paleostress results for penecontemporaneous thrust faults in the area. The models presented here can be applied to any set of dilational structures, including dikes, sills, or hydrous veins, and represent a robust method for characterising the paleostress state in areas where other brittle deformation structures (e.g. faults) are not present.
DOI Link: 10.5194/se-9-847-2018
ISSN: 1869-9510
eISSN: 1869-9529
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2018. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geology

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