Stress, faulting, fracturing and seismicity : the legacy of Ernest Masson Anderson

Healy, David and Sibson, Richard H. and Shipton, Zoe and Butler, Robert (2012) Stress, faulting, fracturing and seismicity : the legacy of Ernest Masson Anderson. Geological Society Special Publications, 367. pp. 1-6. (

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For as long as geologists have looked at deformed rocks, they have grappled to understand the mechanical origins of deformation. Natural systems are inherently complex so that, for many, purely geometric and kinematic approaches have sufficed. However, we know that stress within the brittle upper crust controls the nucleation, growth and reactivation of faults and fractures, induces seismic activity, affects the transport of magma and modulates structural permeability, thereby influencing the redistribution of hydrothermal and hydrocarbon fluids. An endeavour of structural geology and seismotectonics is therefore to reconstruct states of stress and their evolution over geological time from observations of the final products of rock deformation. Experimentalists endeavour to recreate structures observed in nature under controlled stress conditions. Earth scientists studying earthquakes attempt to monitor or deduce stress changes in the Earth as it actively deforms. All are building upon the pioneering researches and concepts of Ernest Masson Anderson dating back to the start of the 20th century. His insights, encapsulated in a small number of research papers and in the book The Dynamics of Faulting and Dyke Formation with Applications to Britain, continue to influence investigations in structural geology, seismology, rock mechanics, processes of hydrothermal mineralization and physical volcanology. This volume celebrates this legacy.


Healy, David, Sibson, Richard H., Shipton, Zoe ORCID logoORCID: and Butler, Robert;