Tracing tectonic deformation using the sedimentary record: an overview
Tectonic activity, on a range of scales, is a fundamental control on sedimentary activity. The range of structural deformation within a region extends from the plate tectonic scale, governing, for example, rift initiation, to the basin scale, with the formation of basin-bounding faults. Internal basin configuration is also strongly influenced by tectonic activity. However, the relationship between tectonic activity and sedimentation is a complex one, given the many additional factors which can also influence sedimentary activity, including erosion, sediment transport, source area lithology, groundwater chemistry, range of depositional environments, climate, eustasy, and the relative location of an area and its distality to marine influences. In this paper we provide a selective overview of the issues associated with the interlinked themes of tectonics and sedimentation, examining the main basin types forming in both extensional and compressional plate settings. We then review the various models of sedimentation in the selected basins, both on a local and a basinal scale. Finally, we look to the future — providing a series of possible research areas, almost exclusively multidisciplinary, which would help to improve existing models of interlinked sediment-tectonics systems.
Figures & Tables
The study of sediments and sedimentary basins in terms of their tectonic environment requires a multidisciplinary approach and has increasingly drawn both techniques and objectives from fields outside sedimentology. The application of different theoretical, experimental and empirical resources provided by structural geology, geochemistry, geophysics, scale modelling, and field geology, complement sedimentological methods, with the combined aim of achieving a deeper understanding of the origins, evolution and significance of sedimentary sequences in terms of their tectonic history.
Studies presented in this volume range across a wide spectrum from the analysis of sedimentary sequence architecture at basin scale down to the chemical properties of individual grains, and include studies from a range of tectonic settings.
The volume will be of interest to those involved with, or contemplating, studies involving the linkages between tectonics and sedimentation, as well as a wider audience to whom the results of such studies may provide fresh insight.