The stratigraphic record stored in sedimentary basins had traditionally been interpreted in terms of tectonic subsidence, climate change and sea-level rise or fall. During the last decade, however, the fundamental control of sediment flux in creating sedimentary sequences, and thus the need to understand variations in sediment flux in order to interpret the sedimentary record, has been recognized. Sediment flux is a first-order control on the pattern and distribution of sedimentary facies in depositional basins. Consequently, basin fills reflect the sediment flux across their margins and the hinterland conditions driving the sediment flux provide evidence of dynamic geomorphic processes. In context, the drainage systems and sedimentary basin can be regarded as a ‘production line’ with the sedimentary record giving valuable insight into long-term landscape evolution and geomorphological processes illuminating the evolution of sedimentary basins. This special publication contains a set of papers on sediment supply to basins, with a focus on clastic sediments. It presents a mix of hinterland and sedimentary basin studies with a gradation from orogenic belts to the deep marine. The papers present a current perspective on controls and constraints on sediment supply, a model and empirically based driven understanding of sediment flux and the interaction of geomorphology, landscape evolution and sedimentary geology to provide a more complete picture of the Earth system.
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Sediment Flux to Basins: Causes, Controls and Consequences
There is an increasing trend in the Earth sciences towards the integration of many subdisciplines. The sedimendatry basin, is a fundamental focal point of many studies, which as a consequence often neglects the complimentary drainage basin or catchment. Sedimentary basins provide a record of Earth history, reflecting the geographical, lithological, oceanographic and ecological development through the rock record. Drainage basins in comparison record ephemeral landscape evolution, where topography is eroded and provides the flux of sediment to the basin. The basin fill reflects the sediment flux from the hinterland and provides evidence of the dynamic geomorphic processes. In context the drainage system and sedimentary basin can be regarded as a ‘production line’ with sedimentary record giving valuable insight into long-term landscape evolution and geomorphological processes illuminating the evolution of sedimentary basins.
This volume assesses the current position of understanding sediment supply to basins with the integration of the many sub-disciplines in the Earth sciences. It documents a mix of hinterland and sedimentary basin studies with a gradation from orogenic belts to the deep marine. The authors represent a wide spectrum of Earth scientist, with leaders in the science providing review papers and new-directive papers in their field of specialization.