Moab Fault

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Coordinates: 38°38′N 109°40′W / 38.633°N 109.667°W / 38.633; -109.667

Looking closer and closer at the fault zone reveals more and more faults at smaller and smaller scales. In this sense faulting is fractal.

The Moab Fault, near Moab, Utah, United States, is a well exposed and much studied geological fault. The Moab fault is an extensional fault that runs approximately NW-SE, passing to the west of the Arches National Park. It is about 45 km (28 mi) long and has a maximum displacement of about 960 m (3,150 ft).[1] The rocks on the SW side of the fault have been lifted up forming steep cliffs of Triassic Wingate sandstone and Chinle formation.

At the north end of the Moab valley, there is a fault transfer zone, where the fault steps east. This zone transfers the displacement along the fault from one segment to another. Within this zone there is very dense faulting. This is revealed in the road cutting for Highway 191 as seen in this picture taken from the nearby Arches National Park visitor centre.

Fault damage zones have great commercial interest to petroleum geoscientists as they can dramatically affect the performance of hydrocarbon reservoirs.


  1. ^ Foxford K.A.; Walsh J.J.; Watterson J.; Garden I.R.; Guscott S.C.; Burley S.D. (1998). "Structure and content of the Moab fault zone, Utah, USA, and its implications for fault seal prediction". In Jones G., Fisher Q.J. & Knipe R.J. Faulting, fault sealing and fluid flow in hydrocarbon reservoirs. Special Publications. 147. London: Geological Society. pp. 87–103. ISBN 9781862390225.