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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 94, No. 12 (December 2010), P. 17991809.

Copyright copy2010. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.


Structure and kinematics of an outcrop-scale fold-cored triangle zone

David Colin Tanner,1 Christian Brandes,2 Bernd Leiss3

1Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics, Stilleweg 2, D-30655 Hannover, Germany; [email protected]
2Institute of Geology, Leibniz University Hannover, Callinstr. 30, 30167 Hannover, Germany; [email protected]
3Geoscience Centre, Georg August University Gottingen, Goldschmidtstr. 3, 37077 Gottingen, Germany; [email protected]


Triangle zones are widespread structural elements that link fold and thrust belts with their foreland basins. We present a structural analysis of an outcrop-scale (~6 m [20 ft] wide) triangle zone that is exposed in the siliciclastic Carboniferous strata of the Harz Mountains in northern Germany. The geometry of the triangle zone is critically compared with larger outcrop and seismic-scale structures. The external form of the triangle zone is the same as that proposed for larger examples, with two bounding detachments that dip in opposing directions. However, the interior of the triangle zone is characterized by tight to isoclinal folds. We demonstrate how the triangle zone probably evolved from a fault-bend fold, which accreted further folds behind it. This is an alternative fold-based interpretation for a structure that is commonly modeled as a duplex stack. We present the resulting consequences for seismic interpretation and hydrocarbon reservoir evaluation.

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