Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


James R. Wood


William Gregg


Faults form quickly, geologically speaking, with sharp, crisp step-like profiles. Logic dictates that erosion wears away this "sharpness" or angularity creating more rounded features. As erosion occurs, debris accumulates at the base of the scarp slope. The stable end point of this process is when the scarp slope approaches an ideal sigmoid shape.

This theory of fault end process, in combination with a new method developed in this report for fault profile delineation, has the potential to enable observation and categorization of fault profiles over large, diverse swaths of fault formation-- in remote areas such as the Southern Kenyan Rift Valley. This up-to date method uses remote sensing data and the digitizer tool in Global Mapper to create shape files of fault segments.

This method can provide further evidence to support the notion that sigmoidal- shaped profiles represent a natural endpoint of the erosional process of fault scarps. Over time, faults of many different ages would exist in this similar shape over a wide region. However, keeping in mind that other processes can be at work on scarps-- most notably drainage patterns, when anomalies in profiles are observed, reactivation in some form possibly has occurred.

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Geology Commons