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Fold-and-thrust belts and their adjacent foreland basins provide a wealth of information about crustal shortening and mountain-building processes in convergent orogens. Erosion of the hanging walls of these structures is often thought to be synchronous with deformation and results in the exhumation and cooling of rocks exposed at the surface. Applications of low-temperature thermochronology and balanced cross sections in fold-and-thrust belts have linked the record of rock cooling with the timing of deformation and exhumation. The goal of these applications is to quantify the kinematic and thermal history of fold-and-thrust belts. In this review, we discuss different styles of deformation preserved in fold-and-thrust belts, and the ways in which these structural differences result in different rock cooling histories as rocks are exhumed to the surface. Our emphasis is on the way in which different numerical modeling approaches can be combined with low-temperature thermochronometry and balanced cross sections to resolve questions surrounding the age, rate, geometry, and kinematics of orogenesis.

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