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A review of field observations reveals that faults in the upper crust initiate in one of three styles: linkage of pre-existing structures, linkage of precursory structures, or by localization of slip in a precursory shear zone. The first two styles can be characterized by three general stages. During stage 1, faults initiate by shear along pre-existing structures (formed during an earlier event), or by the initiation of precursor structures (formed earlier in the same deformation event). Stage 2 involves the pre-existing or precursor structures becoming linked by differently orientated structures, as stresses are perturbed within the developing fault zone. Linkage allows displacement to increase. A through-going...