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The Permian Tanqua and Laingsburg subbasins in the southwestern Karoo Basin, South Africa, had near-contemporaneous formation and filling. Five submarine fan systems are in the broad, shallow Tanqua subbasin and four in the more typical foredeep-style Laingsburg subbasin. Petrologic and micro-probe analysis of the sandstones indicates a distant source area. Tectonic events led to varying sea-floor topography that directed sediment transport to the subbasins. Tectonic activity was low to nonexistent during deposition of any one or more of the submarine fans and indicates that the depositional cycle is much shorter than a tectonic cycle. The tectonic style of a basin may not always define the sedimentary characteristics of turbidite systems deposited in that basin.

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