Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geology)

First Advisor

Dr. Sean Bemis


The Mount McKinley restraining bend (MMRB) creates an ~18° left-step in the arcuate surface trace of the dextral Denali Fault in south-central Alaska. Despite being a large, crustal-scale fault, little is understood about the controls on deformation within the MMRB. Similarities between previous wet kaolin analog modeling and the MMRB suggest that the first-order deformation patterns may derive from similar mechanisms. We compare uplift patterns, localization of deformation, formation of new faults, and displacement fields from the analog model and the natural setting to assess the influence of different variables on the overall system. Despite strong rheological heterogeneity in the MMRB, this natural setting exhibits the same distribution of deformation across the restraining bend as the homogeneous analog model suggesting this first-order deformation patterns is independent of upper crustal heterogeneity. The active thrust faults of the MMRB are purely dip-slip, whereas the thrust faults formed in the model exhibit oblique slip. Conventional understanding suggests migrating restraining bends cannot produce high topography; we conclude that with a specific combination of geometry, slip rate, and migration rate, high topography is capable of forming within a migrating system.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

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