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Volume 7, issue 3
Solid Earth, 7, 789-815, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Solid Earth, 7, 789-815, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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 et al.
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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.
Publications Copernicus
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.
We present exceptional 3-D outcrop data of clay smears in freshly cut trenches of Miocene...