faults - petroleum geology

Aug 14th, 2016
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General IntroductionMuch of the basic nomenclature relating to faults was derived from coal mining in the British Midlandsduring the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In fact, the word "fault" itself was originally usedby miners to describe the sudden, unexpected, and trouble-causing termination of a coal seam. Thus,"fault" then carried much of its vernacular sense; basically, some sort of a mistake had been made.Geologists like Murchison and Lyell, however, were quick to realize that a fault was, in reality, a fracturealong which displacement had occurred, and that simple geometric methods could be used to predictwhere a particular seam might be found again, either above or below. The bounding surface of a faultpresented a "wall" to the disgruntled miner, who was normally forced to continue his heading a short wayinto solid rock and then sink a new shaft in order to relocate the seam. The wall of the fault plane wasalmost always inclined, which meant that the miner could hang his lamp from the rocks above the faultand rest his foot on those below it ( Figure 1 ).Figure 1Thus, the terms hangingwall and footwall then as now simply label the two sides of the fault and implynothing about displacement. A fault was "normal" to the miner's experience when it was inclined towardthe hanging-wall; a coal seam that ended against such a fault could be found again if the miner continuedhis tunnel a short distance in the same direction and then sunk a shaft

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