Three-dimensional finite-element modeling of a thin-skinned fold-thrust belt wedge: Provo salient, Sevier belt, Utah

Sanghoon Kwon, Gautam Mitra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Three-dimensional finite-element (FE) analysis of a fold-thrust belt wedge model provides graphical and quantitative information for the strain geometry, kinematics, and mechanics of salient formation in three-dimensional space. A nonlinear, elastic-plastic FE model, using the initial basin configuration of the restored Provo salient, Utah, develops realistic deformation features (e.g., salient) in the deformed sedimentary prism. The three-dimensional fold-thrust belt wedge model shows different deformation characteristics (based on S1 Υmax, and σ1 orientations and material-displacement directions) in different parts of the salient, and its behavior is closely related to the preexisting template of the predeformational basin shape. The model results indicate plane-strain deformation with symmetric finite-strain geometry in the middle of the salient and nonplane-strain deformation with nonsymmetric finite-strain geometry at the lateral boundaries. Thus, conventional two-dimensional plane-strain assumptions in fold-thrust belt analysis (e.g., in balancing cross sections) are reasonable only in the middle of the salient; however, at the lateral boundaries, the results indicate fully three dimensional deformation and suggest that restorations need to be more carefully constrained in three dimensions on the basis of detailed geologic data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-564
Number of pages4
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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