This paper examines the stratal geometries and facies stacking patterns associated with forced regressions around fault-propagation folds in extensional and compressional settings. Case studies are documented from: (i) the Miocene of the Suez rift and (ii) the Eocene of the Ainsa piggyback basin, Pyrenees. Despite the different tectonic settings, the stratal geometries and facies stacking patterns are remarkably similar. Distinctive sharp-based shoreface sandstones, formed as a result of forced regression, were deposited around growth anticlines. The forced regressive shoreface sandstones ‘shale-out’ rapidly basinward away from the growth anticlines and sit abruptly within offshore mudstones of highstand (HST) and transgressive (TST) systems tracts along the flanks of the growth anticlines.
As fold amplification proceeded, older sandbodies were rotated to dip more steeply, and there is commonly a 2–5° angular difference between successive forced regressive sandbodies. This progressive tilting, coupled with marine erosion during relative sea-level fall has completely removed HST and TST deposits near anticline crets, and led to vertical amalgamation of individual forced regressive sandbodies. The resulting stratal geometries clearly result from the tectonic enhancement of forced regression.
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Sedimentary Responses to Forced Regressions
An increasing number of studies in recent years have demonstrated that significant progradation of shallow marine systems occurs under conditions of base-level fall. These new data are forcing many sedimentary geologists to critically re-evaluate many aspects of sequence stratigraphy relating to erosion and deposition during base-level (lake- or relative sea-level) fall, and the intrinsic link made between stratal geometries and base-level change. For the first time, this volume brings together a collection of articles that focus solely on forced regressions, providing a more complete picture of the development, formation, variability and preservation of the surfaces and deposits generated during base-level fall.
The results of the studies published here will be of interest to all geologists attempting to understand the relationship between changes in base-level and stratigraphy, and to all who use sequence stratigraphy as a method of stratigraphic correlation and interpretation at outcrop and in the subsurface.