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Geometry of Sedimentary Basins: Applications to Devonian of North America and Europe

By
L. L. Sloss
L. L. Sloss
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Wolfgang Scherer
Wolfgang Scherer
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Published:
January 01, 1975

The three-dimensional geometry of a time-stratigraphic unit, representing deposition in a craton-interior basin during a discrete increment of time, reflects the degree and mode of subsidence of the basin during accumulation. Although it is clear that subsidence rates and geometric forms of basins are variable over the course of major depositional cycles (±50 m.y.), it has not been possible to express these variations quantitatively so that the geometric evolution of individual basins or comparisons between basins could be analyzed rigorously. Application of a surface-fitting expression, a modification of the bivariate-normal distribution function, to thickness data on successive time-stratigraphic units permits the derivation of a number of geometric parameters that are significant basin descriptors. Of these descriptors, the most readily applicable to basin analysis are (1) position of the hinge line or locus of maximum rate of change of thickness, (2) basin slope at the hinge line, and (3) basin dimensions and shape as defined by the length of principal elliptical axes at the hinge line. Given independently derived geochronologic data, each parameter may be monitored with respect to time and expressed as values per unit time.

Analysis of Devonian units of the Michigan, Elk Point, and Moscow Basins in terms of slope and dimensional parameters, plus additional data on volume and areal distribution, indicates a substantial degree of similarity and synchrony in the development of the three basins and a particularly close kinship between the widely separated Elk Point and Moscow Basins. If parallelism and synchrony in the evolution of basins in the interiors of separate cratons are confirmed by further study, there is a strong implication that globally effective marine transgressions of continents are accompanied by epeirogenic tectonism within continents.

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Contents

GSA Memoirs

Quantitative Studies in the Geological Sciences

E. H. Timothy Whitten
E. H. Timothy Whitten
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Geological Society of America
Volume
142
ISBN print:
9780813711423
Publication date:
January 01, 1975

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