22 December 2017

The #FaultCup semifinals

Posted by Callan Bentley

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a fun game playing out on Twitter, hosted by Jorge (@lithospheric), called The Fault Cup, or #FaultCup in Twitterspeak.

There’s a bracket showing one-on-one match ups between different faults, and then a 24 hour Twitter poll is posted, where the audience can vote for which one they want to advance to the next round.

 Click through to embiggen.

If you’ve missed the fast and furious first rounds of voting, you’ve missed some stunning come-from-behind victories in the final moments of voting. The Queen Charlotte squeaked through in a real nail-biter finish.

It gets really fun when geoscientists who want to advocate for a particular fault jump in and start posting reasons why their fault is the best fault. It’s a fun, low-stakes chance for geoscience education. The tweets can get snarky and faux-intense, and weave in pop-cultural references. I’ve gone on a tear advocating for the Queen Charlotte Fault, the Lewis Thrust, and the Moine Thrust, and though my beloved Lewis didn’t make it, the current match up is two of my babies, the Moine vs. Queen Charlotte.


This is where things stand now:

You should vote. You should tell the rest of us why you’re voting – the #FaultCup is a great chance to do some informal science communication and education.

There are 8 hours remaining to decide their Moine vs. Queen Charlotte match up. Both are awesome faults. I’m voting Moine, because it’s the fault where Charles Lapworth first solved “the Highlands Controversy” and identified thrust faults. Previous to that work, the idea that faults could be parallel to bedding planes wasn’t a prevailing notion, but Lapworth showed the world the mylonite that formed along the fault surface, and showed how thrust faulting could explain how older Moine schist could be emplaced on top of younger sedimentary strata. It’s historically essential to our modern understanding of “thin skinned” tectonics. Learn more at the article I wrote for EARTH magazine about the area.

In subsequent duels, I’ll be voting East African Rift System, San Andreas, and Himalayan Frontal Thrust – unless you manage to convince me otherwise!

You can check in on the latest #FaultCup goodness here. I think Jorge is taking a break for Christmas day, but other than that the action is rapid, and if you blink you might miss it.