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Dr Steven A F Smith

Surveying the Gole Larghe Fault Zone in the Upper Genova Valley, Adamello, Italian Alps, using a terrestrial laser scanner. 1. Surveying the Gole Larghe Fault Zone in the Upper Genova Valley, Adamello, Italian Alps, using a terrestrial laser scanner. Exposures of the Zuccale low-angle normal fault on the Island of Elba, Italy.2. Exposures of the Zuccale low-angle normal fault on the Island of Elba, Italy. Tilted (sub-vertical) sedimentary sequences exposed in the deserts of Azerbaijan. Heavy erosion has formed gullies creating v-shaped outcrop patterns.3. Tilted (sub-vertical) sedimentary sequences exposed in the deserts of Azerbaijan. Heavy erosion has formed gullies creating v-shaped outcrop patterns.

Teaching

Research Interests

My current research interests are focused on the structure and mechanical properties of fault and shear zones, as well as the evolution of fault rock microstructure during the seismic cycle. I use a combination of fieldwork, microstructural analysis and rock deformation experiments. An important part of my research involves comparing natural fault rocks with those produced in experiments to try and understand the most important deformation processes and the significance of fault rock fabrics.

Current research programs include:

  1. Fault rock evolution during the seismic cycle in carbonate rocks.
  2. The Moonlight Fault Zone, New Zealand: A Case Study of Normal Fault Reactivation
  3. The Livingstone Fault, New Zealand: An analogue for the slab-mantle interface.
  4. Structure and mechanics of serpentinite shear zones
  5. Development of novel microanalytical techniques to study fault rocks (e.g. transmission kikuchi diffraction to study nanogranular fault rocks; sub-micron Raman spectroscopy to study serpentinites).

More info about my research programmes can be found here:

Research Grants

2014, University of Otago Research Grant, “Grain-scale recrystallization records frictional heating during earthquakes”

2016, University of Otago Research Grant, “The habitat of great earthquakes: faulting and slip dynamics in serpentinite”

2018, University of Otago Research Grant, “A slippery slope: lubrication processes in giant landslides and rock avalanches”

2015–2018, Marsden fast-start grant, $300,000, “Slow Creep or Fast Rupture in Faults? Linking Nature and Experiment to Understand the Earthquake Source"

2019–2022, Marsden Grant, NZ$950,000, “Reacting to rupture: the role of chemical reactions in earthquake behaviour at plate boundaries”

Prospective students

The geology department at Otago has an active teaching and research programme in structural geology. Visit this page to get a glimpse of what you could be doing whilst researching or studying structural geology at Otago:

Please contact me if you have an interest in the structure and mechanical properties of fault zones.

Current postgraduate students

MSc

James Leaper: The Cascade Rock Avalanche

Simon Holbek: Mineralization and fluid flow in Otago Schist

Completed postgraduate students

PhD

Matthew Tarling (2018; PhD) - Faulting and Slip Dynamics in Ultramafic Rocks: the Livingstone Fault terrane boundary

Matteo Demurtas (2018, University of Padua, Italy; PhD) - Structure and deformation processes in carbonate-bearing normal fault zones

Jack Williams (2017; PhD) - Characterisation of fractures in fault damage zones

Marieke Rempe (2015 University of Padua, Italy; PhD) - Determination of physico-chemical processes in the earthquake cycle using an experimental and field approach

Michele Fondriest (University of Padua, Italy; PhD) - Structure and Mechanical Properties of Seismogenic Fault Zones in Carbonates

MSc

Kieran Crookbain (2016; MSc) - EBSD analysis of clast-cotex grains in carbonate earthquake slip zones

Madison Frank (2015; MSc) - Brittle faulting and fluid flow in basement rocks of coastal Otago (South Island, New Zealand)

Simon Alder (2015; MSc) - Structure and mechanics of high-angle reverse faults: the Moonlight Fault Zone

Jordan Crase (2015; MSc) - The Livingstone fault: a terrane boundary in ultramafic rocks

Hons and PGDipSci

Samantha Allan (2018; BSc(Hons)) - Serpentinite shear zones and metasomatism in the Dun Mountain ophiolite belt, Nelson

Michael Ofman (2018; BSc(Hons)) - The Glade-Darrans Fault Zone, Fiordland

Chris Tulley (2016; BSc(Hons)) - Deformation and chemical reaction in the Livingstone Fault terrane boundary

Simon Alder (2014; BSc Hons) - Structure and ancient seismicity in the Moonlight Fault Zone, Matukituki Valley, Wanaka

Tristan Menzies (2014; BSc Hons) - Structure, mineralization and fluid flow in the Moonlight Fault Zone, Fan Creek, Queenstown

James Griffiths (2014; BSc Hons) - Using earthquake-like laboratory experiments to reveal ancient seismicity in the rock record

Kieran Crookbain (2014; PgDipSci) - Microstructural evolution of calcite fault gouge in earthquake-like experiments

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Publications

Demurtas, M., Smith, S. A. F., Prior, D. J., Spagnuolo, E., & Di Toro, G. (2019). Development of crystallographic preferred orientation during cataclasis in low-temperature carbonate fault gouge. Journal of Structural Geology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2019.04.015

Scott, J. M., Smith, S. A. F., Tarling, M. S., le Roux, P. J., Harris, C., Hoffmann, J. E., … Tulley, C. J. (2019). Element and Sr–O isotope redistribution across a plate boundary-scale crustal serpentinite mélange shear zone, and implications for the slab-mantle interface [Short communication]. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 522, 198-209. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.06.034

Tarling, M. S., Smith, S. A. F., Scott, J. M., Rooney, J. S., Viti, C., & Gordon, K. C. (2019). The internal structure and composition of a plate-boundary-scale serpentinite shear zone: The Livingstone Fault, New Zealand. Solid Earth, 10(4), 1025-1047. doi: 10.5194/se-10-1025-2019

Tarling, M. S., Smith, S. A. F., Viti, C., & Scott, J. M. (2018). Dynamic earthquake rupture preserved in a creeping serpentinite shear zone. Nature Communications, 9, 3552. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05965-0

Viti, C., Collettini, C., Tesei, T., Tarling, M. S., & Smith, S. A. F. (2018). Deforming processes, textural evolution and weakening in retrograde serpentinites. Minerals, 8, 241. doi: 10.3390/min8060241

Chapter in Book - Research

Smith, S. A. F., Griffiths, J. R., Fondriest, M., & Di Toro, G. (2017). “Coseismic foliations” in gouge and cataclasite: Experimental observations and consequences for interpreting the fault rock record. In M. Y. Thomas, T. M. Mitchell & H. S. Bhat (Eds.), Fault zone dynamic processes: Evolution of fault properties during seismic rupture. (pp. 81-102). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. doi: 10.1002/9781119156895.ch5

Collettini, C., Holdsworth, R. E., & Smith, S. A. F. (2009). Fault zone structure and deformation processes along an exhumed low-angle normal fault: Implications for seismic behavior. In E. Fukuyama (Ed.), Fault-Zone Properties and Earthquake Rupture Dynamics. (pp. 69-85). Burlington, MA: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/S0074-6142(08)00004-1

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Journal - Research Article

Tarling, M. S., Smith, S. A. F., Scott, J. M., Rooney, J. S., Viti, C., & Gordon, K. C. (2019). The internal structure and composition of a plate-boundary-scale serpentinite shear zone: The Livingstone Fault, New Zealand. Solid Earth, 10(4), 1025-1047. doi: 10.5194/se-10-1025-2019

Demurtas, M., Smith, S. A. F., Prior, D. J., Spagnuolo, E., & Di Toro, G. (2019). Development of crystallographic preferred orientation during cataclasis in low-temperature carbonate fault gouge. Journal of Structural Geology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2019.04.015

Rempe, M., Mitchell, T. M., Renner, J., Smith, S. A. F., Bistacchi, A., & Di Toro, G. (2018). The relationship between microfracture damage and the physical properties of fault-related rocks: The Gole Larghe Fault Zone, Italian Southern Alps. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(9), 7661-7687. doi: 10.1029/2018JB015900

Rooney, J. S., Tarling, M. S., Smith, S. A. F., & Gordon, K. C. (2018). Submicron Raman spectroscopy mapping of serpentinite fault rocks. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 49(2), 279-286. doi: 10.1002/jrs.5277

Tarling, M. S., Rooney, J. S., Viti, C., Smith, S. A. F., & Gordon, K. C. (2018). Distinguishing the Raman spectrum of polygonal serpentine. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/jrs.5475

Negrini, M., Smith, S. A. F., Scott, J. M., & Tarling, M. S. (2018). Microstructural and rheological evolution of calcite mylonites during shear zone thinning: Constraints from the Mount Irene shear zone, Fiordland, New Zealand. Journal of Structural Geology, 106, 86-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2017.11.013

Williams, J. N., Toy, V. G., Massiot, C., McNamara, D. D., Smith, S. A. F., & Mills, S. (2018). Controls on fault zone structure and brittle fracturing in the foliated hanging wall of the Alpine Fault. Solid Earth, 9, 469-489. doi: 10.5194/se-9-469-2018

Tarling, M. S., Smith, S. A. F., Viti, C., & Scott, J. M. (2018). Dynamic earthquake rupture preserved in a creeping serpentinite shear zone. Nature Communications, 9, 3552. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05965-0

Williams, J. N., Toy, V. G., Smith, S. A. F., & Boulton, C. (2017). Fracturing, fluid-rock interaction and mineralisation during the seismic cycle along the Alpine Fault. Journal of Structural Geology, 103, 151-166. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2017.09.011

Rempe, M., Smith, S., Mitchell, T., Hirose, T., & Di Toro, G. (2017). The effect of water on strain localization in calcite fault gouge sheared at seismic slip rates. Journal of Structural Geology, 97, 104-117. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2017.02.007

Smith, S. A. F., Tesei, T., Scott, J. M., & Collettini, C. (2017). Reactivation of normal faults as high-angle reverse faults due to low frictional strength: Experimental data from the Moonlight Fault Zone, New Zealand. Journal of Structural Geology, 105, 34-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2017.10.009

Nielson, S., Spagnuolo, E., Violay, M., Smith, S., Di Toro, G., & Bistacchi, A. (2016). G: Fracture energy, friction and dissipation in earthquakes. Journal of Seismology, 20(4), 1187-1205. doi: 10.1007/s10950-016-9560-1

Nielsen, S., Spagnuolo, E., Smith, S. A. F., Violay, M., Di Toro, G., & Bistacchi, A. (2016). Scaling in natural and laboratory earthquakes. Geophysical Research Letters, 43, 1504-1510. doi: 10.1002/2015GL067490

Alder, S., Smith, S. A. F., & Scott, J. M. (2016). Fault-zone structure and weakening processes in basin-scale reverse faults: The Moonlight Fault Zone, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of Structural Geology, 91, 177-194. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2016.09.001

Smith, S. A. F., Nielsen, S., & Di Toro, G. (2015). Strain localization and the onset of dynamic weakening in calcite fault gouge. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 413, 25-36. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.12.043

Remitti, F., Smith, S. A. F., Mittempergher, S., Gaultieri, A. F., & Di Toro, G. (2015). Frictional properties of fault zone gouges from the J-FAST drilling project (Mw 9.0 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake). Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 2691-2699. doi: 10.1002/2015GL063507

Mitchell, T. M., Smith, S. A. F., Anders, M. H., Di Toro, G., Nielsen, S., Cavallo, A., & Beard, A. D. (2015). Catastrophic emplacement of giant landslides aided by thermal decomposition: Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 411, 199-207. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.10.051

Fondriest, M., Aretusini, S., Di Toro, G., & Smith, S. A. F. (2015). Fracturing and rock pulverization along an exhumed seismogenic fault zone in dolostones: The Foiana Fault Zone (Southern Alps, Italy). Tectonophysics, 654, 56-74. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2015.04.015

Rempe, M., Smith, S. A. F., Ferri, F., Mitchell, T. M., & Di Toro, G. (2014). Clast-cortex aggregates in experimental and natural calcite-bearing fault zones. Journal of Structural Geology, 68(Part A), 142-157. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2014.09.007

Kuo, L.-W., Li, H., Smith, S. A. F., Di Toro, G., Suppe, J., Song, S.-R., … Si, J. (2014). Gouge graphitization and dynamic fault weakening during the 2008 Mw 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake. Geology, 42(1), 47-50. doi: 10.1130/G34862.1

Smith, S. A. F., Bistacchi, A., Mitchell, T. M., Mittempergher, S., & Di Toro, G. (2013). The structure of an exhumed intraplate seismogenic fault in crystalline basement. Tectonophysics, 599, 29-44. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2013.03.031

Smith, S. A. F., Di Toro, G., Kim, S., Ree, J.-H., Nielsen, S., Billi, A., & Spiess, R. (2013). Coseismic recrystallization during shallow earthquake slip. Geology, 41(1), 63-66. doi: 10.1130/G33588.1

Fondriest, M., Smith, S. A. F., Candela, T., Nielsen, S. B., Mair, K., & Di Toro, G. (2013). Mirror-like faults and power dissipation during earthquakes. Geology, 41(11), 1175-1178. doi: 10.1130/G34641.1

Niemeijer, A., Di Toro, G., Ashley Griffith, W., Bistacchi, A., Smith, S. A. F., & Nielsen, S. (2012). Inferring earthquake physics and chemistry using an integrated field and laboratory approach. Journal of Structural Geology, 39, 2-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2012.02.018

Fondriest, M., Smith, S. A. F., Di Toro, G., Zampieri, D., & Mittempergher, S. (2012). Fault zone structure and seismic slip localization in dolostones, an example from the Southern Alps, Italy. Journal of Structural Geology, 45, 52-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2012.06.014

Pearce, M. A., Jones, R. R., Smith, S. A. F., & McCaffrey, K. J. W. (2011). Quantification of fold curvature and fracturing using terrestrial laser scanning. AAPG Bulletin, 95(5), 771-794. doi: 10.1306/11051010026

Smith, S. A. F., Billi, A., Di Toro, G., & Spiess, R. (2011). Principal slip zones in limestone: Microstructural characterization and implications for the seismic cycle (Tre Monti Fault, Central Apennines, Italy). Pure & Applied Geophysics, 168(12), 2365-2393. doi: 10.1007/s00024-011-0267-5

Mittempergher, S., Di Toro, G., Gratier, J. P., Hadizadeh, J., Smith, S. A. F., & Spiess, R. (2011). Evidence of transient increases of fluid pressure in SAFOD phase III cores. Geophysical Research Letters, 38(3). doi: 10.1029/2010GL046129

Collettini, C., Niemeijer, A., Viti, C., Smith, S. A. F., & Marone, C. (2011). Fault structure, frictional properties and mixed-mode fault slip behavior. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 311(3-4), 316-327. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.09.020

Smith, S. A. F., Holdsworth, R. E., & Collettini, C. (2011). Interactions between low-angle normal faults and plutonism in the upper crust: Insights from the Island of Elba, Italy. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 123(1-2), 329-346. doi: 10.1130/B30200.1

Bistacchi, A., Ashley Griffith, W., Smith, S. A. F., Di Toro, G., Jones, R., & Nielsen, S. (2011). Fault roughness at seismogenic depths from LIDAR and photogrammetric analysis. Pure & Applied Geophysics, 168(12), 2345-2363. doi: 10.1007/s00024-011-0301-7

Smith, S. A. F., Holdsworth, R. E., Collettini, C., & Pearce, M. A. (2011). The microstructural character and mechanical significance of fault rocks associated with a continental low-angle normal fault: The Zuccale Fault, Elba Island, Italy. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 359, 97-113. doi: 10.1144/SP359.6

Ashley Griffith, W., Nielsen, S., Di Toro, G., & Smith, S. A. F. (2010). Rough faults, distributed weakening, and off-fault deformation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115(8), B08409. doi: 10.1029/2009JB006925

Smith, S. A. F., & Faulkner, D. R. (2010). Laboratory measurements of the frictional properties of the Zuccale low-angle normal fault, Elba Island, Italy. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, B02407. doi: 10.1029/2008JB006274

Collettini, C., Viti, C., Smith, S. A. F., & Holdsworth, R. E. (2009). Development of interconnected talc networks and weakening of continental low-angle normal faults. Geology, 37(6), 567-570. doi: 10.1130/G25645A.1

Smith, S. A. F., Collettini, C., & Holdsworth, R. E. (2008). Recognizing the seismic cycle along ancient faults: CO2-induced fluidization of breccias in the footwall of a sealing low-angle normal fault. Journal of Structural Geology, 30(8), 1034-1046. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2008.04.010

Collettini, C., Cardellini, C., Chiodini, G., De Paola, N., Holdsworth, R. E., & Smith, S. A. F. (2008). Fault weakening due to CO2 degassing in the Northern Apennines: Short- and long-term processes. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 299, 175-194. doi: 10.1144/SP299.11

Jones, R. R., McCaffrey, K. J. W., Imber, J., Wightman, R., Smith, S. A. F., Holdsworth, R. E., … Wilson, R. W. (2008). Calibration and validation of reservoir models: The importance of high resolution, quantitative outcrop analogues. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 309, 87-98. doi: 10.1144/SP309.7

Chattopadhyay, A., Khasdeo, L., Holdsworth, R. E., & Smith, S. A. F. (2008). Fault reactivation and pseudotachylite generation in the semi-brittle and brittle regimes: Examples from the Gavilgarh-Tan Shear Zone, central India. Geological Magazine, 145(6), 766-777. doi: 10.1017/S0016756808005074

Imber, J., Holdsworth, R. E., Smith, S. A. F., Jefferies, S. P., & Collettini, C. (2008). Frictional-viscous flow, seismicity and the geology of weak faults: A review and future directions. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 299, 151-173. doi: 10.1144/SP299.10

Smith, S. A. F., Strachan, R. A., & Holdsworth, R. E. (2007). Microstructural evolution within a partitioned midcrustal transpression zone, northeast Greenland Caledonides. Tectonics, 26(4), TC4003. doi: 10.1029/2006TC001952

Smith, S. A. F., Holdsworth, R. E., Collettini, C., & Imber, J. (2007). Using footwall structures to constrain the evolution of low-angle normal faults. Journal of the Geological Society, 164(6), 1187-1191. doi: 10.1144/0016-76492007-009

Watts, L. M., Holdsworth, R. E., Sleight, J. A., Strachan, R. A., & Smith, S. A. F. (2007). The movement history and fault rock evolution of a reactivated crustal-scale strike-slip fault: The Walls Boundary Fault Zone, Shetland. Journal of the Geological Society, 164(5), 1037-1058. doi: 10.1144/0016-76492006-156

Pearce, M. A., Jones, R. R., Smith, S. A. F., McCaffrey, K. J. W., & Clegg, P. (2006). Numerical analysis of fold curvature using data acquired by high-precision GPS. Journal of Structural Geology, 28(9), 1640-1646. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2006.05.010

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Journal - Research Other

Scott, J. M., Smith, S. A. F., Tarling, M. S., le Roux, P. J., Harris, C., Hoffmann, J. E., … Tulley, C. J. (2019). Element and Sr–O isotope redistribution across a plate boundary-scale crustal serpentinite mélange shear zone, and implications for the slab-mantle interface [Short communication]. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 522, 198-209. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.06.034

Viti, C., Collettini, C., Tesei, T., Tarling, M. S., & Smith, S. A. F. (2018). Deforming processes, textural evolution and weakening in retrograde serpentinites. Minerals, 8, 241. doi: 10.3390/min8060241

Smith, S. A. F., Agosta, F., Toussaint, R., & Holdsworth, R. E. (2012). Foreword to Special Issue: "Fault Zone Structure, Mechanics and Evolution in Nature and Experiment". Journal of Structural Geology, 45, 1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2012.11.001

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Di Toro, G., Niemeijer, A., Tripoli, A., Nielsen, S., Di Felice, F., Scarlato, P., … Smith, S. A. F., … Mariano, S. (2010). From field geology to earthquake simulation: A new state-of-the-art tool to investigate rock friction during the seismic cycle (SHIVA). Rendiconti Lincei, 21(Suppl. 1), (pp. 95-114). doi: 10.1007/s12210-010-0097-x

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