Anisotropic Origin of Transform Faults

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Science  09 Apr 1976:
Vol. 192, Issue 4235, pp. 137-138
DOI: 10.1126/science.192.4235.137


Transform faults appear in the process of stretching during freezing of the surface films on liquid wax. These films are composed of a warp yarn of wax fibers with optical anisotropy. This fabric is absent in materials that fail to produce transform faults. The mechanical anisotropy of these wax films (with high tensile strength and low shear strength in the direction of spreading) is responsible for the initiation of the transform faults. It is suggested that the anisotropy of the ocean upper mantle recorded seismically may likewise be responsible for the creation of the ridge-ridge transform faults in the oceans.