A Characterization of Faults in the Appalachian Foldbelt (NUREG/CR-1621)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: July 1980
Date Published: September 1980

Prepared By:
A. L. Odom, R. D. Hatcher, Jr.

Contributing Authors:
D. E. Dunn – University of New Orleans
T. J. Engelder – Lamont-Doherty Geologic Observatory
P. A. Geiser – University of Connecticut
S. A. Kish – University of North Carolina
S. Schamel – Lafayette College
D. U. Wise – University of Massachusetts

Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306

Prepared for
Division of Siting, Health and Safeguards Standards
Office of Standards Development
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissions
Washington, D.C. 20555
NRC FIN No. 81053-8

Availability Notice


The characterization is a synthesis of available data on geologic faults in the Appalachian foldbelt regarding their description, generic implications, rate of movement, and potential as geologic-seismic hazards. It is intended to assist applicants and reviewers in evaluating faults at sites for nuclear facilities. Appalachian faults were found to fall into 13 groups which can be defined on either their temporal, generic, or descriptive properties. They are as follows: Group 1, faults with demonstrable Cenozoic movement; Group 2, Wildflysch type thrust sheets; Group 3, bedding plane thrusts – décollements; Group A, pre- to synmetamorphic thrusts in medium to high grade terranes; Group 5, post-metamorphic thrusts in medium to high grade terranes; Group 6, thrusts rooted in low crystalline basement; Group 7, high angle reverse faults; Group 8, strike slip faults; Group. 9, .normal (block) faults; Group 10, compound faults; Group 11, structural lineaments; Group 12, faults associated with local centers; and Group 13, faults related to geomorphic phenomena. Unhealed faults (Groups 1, 6, 8, 9, and 12) must be considered candidates for reactivation. Heated brittle or auctile faults (Groups 4, 5, and 10) are not places of mechanical discontinuity and are unlikely candidates for reactivation. The remaining groups (2, 3, 7, 11, and 13) should be individually assessed as to their potential for reactivation.

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