Geometry and kinematic evolution of Riedel shear structures, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Yoram Katz, Ram Weinberger, Atilla Aydin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Riedel shear structures are common fault patterns identified within shear zones and related to the embryonic stages of fault formation. This study focuses on the geometry of outcrop-scale natural shear zones consisting of different generations of Riedel structures, exposed in the Jurassic Navajo sandstone, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Geometric analysis of different structures shows that the spacing of synthetic R-deformation bands increases with the spacing of antithetic R′-deformation bands. Systematic correlation is found between the R-band spacing and the angles formed between R- and R′-bands. Examination of young Riedel structures shows their tendency to localize along narrow, elongated domains sub-parallel to the shear direction and create denser Riedel networks. We suggest that the evolution of Riedel structures is dominated by two mechanisms: (1) discrete faulting in the form of conjugate deformation bands, generally complying with the Mohr-Coulomb criteria, and (2) granular flow, which rotates mainly the R′-deformation bands. Both mechanisms are intensified with progressive strain, decreasing the deformation-band spacing and increasing the R- to R′-angles. The tendency of young Riedel structures to organize in dense elongated networks is related to strain localization during the shear-zone evolution. We suggest a kinematic explanation for the evolution of Riedel-structure networks, which relates the network geometry to the progressive accumulation and localization of shear strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-501
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Deformation bands
  • Riedel structures
  • Shear zones
  • Strain localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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