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Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências

Print version ISSN 0001-3765On-line version ISSN 1678-2690

Abstract

D'ANGELO, TAYNARA  and  GOMES, CAROLINE J.S.. Glass Microbeads in Analog Models of Thrust Wedges. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2017, vol.89, n.1, pp.73-89. ISSN 0001-3765.  https://doi.org/10.1590/0001-3765201720160291.

Glass microbeads are frequently used in analog physical modeling to simulate weak detachment zones but have been neglected in models of thrust wedges. Microbeads differ from quartz sand in grain shape and in low angle of internal friction. In this study, we compared the structural characteristics of microbeads and sand wedges. To obtain a better picture of their mechanical behavior, we determined the physical and frictional properties of microbeads using polarizing and scanning electron microscopy and ring-shear tests, respectively. We built shortening experiments with different basal frictions and measured the thickness, slope and length of the wedges and also the fault spacings. All the microbeads experiments revealed wedge geometries that were consistent with previous studies that have been performed with sand. However, the deformation features in the microbeads shortened over low to intermediate basal frictions were slightly different. Microbeads produced different fault geometries than sand as well as a different grain flow. In addition, they produced slip on minor faults, which was associated with distributed deformation and gave the microbeads wedges the appearance of disharmonic folds. We concluded that the glass microbeads may be used to simulate relatively competent rocks, like carbonates, which may be characterized by small-scale deformation features.

Keywords : compressional deformation models; sand; microbeads; physical and frictional characterizations..

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