Cratonic basins and the Wilson cycle: a perspective from the Parnaíba Basin, Brazil
Published:November 11, 2019
M. C. Daly, B. Tozer, A. B. Watts, 2019. "Cratonic basins and the Wilson cycle: a perspective from the Parnaíba Basin, Brazil", Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, R. W. Wilson, G. A. Houseman, K. J. W. McCaffrey, A. G. Doré, S. J. H. Buiter
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Cratonic basins appear to occupy a specific place in the Wilson cycle, initiating after continental collision and supercontinent development, but before rifting and continental break-up. They do not result directly from the horizontal plate motions characteristic of the Wilson cycle, but from localized, long-lived subsidence. Covering c. 10% of the Earth's continental crust, most of the preserved cratonic basins developed in the Early Paleozoic after the formation of Gondwana and Laurentia. Recent investigation of the Parnaíba cratonic basin of Brazil has shown that this basin, and potentially cratonic basins in general, are characterized by six features: (1) formation on thickened lithosphere (>150 km); (2) a pronounced basal unconformity; (3) a sub-circular outline and large area of 0.5 × 105 to 2 × 106 km2; (4) long-lived (100–300 myr) quasi-exponential tectonic subsidence of shallow marine and terrestrial sediments; (5) no major extensional strain features, such as rifts, crustal or lithospheric thinning or Moho elevation; and (6) dense, high velocity and conductive lower crust and upper mantle. These characteristics indicate basin initiation and development by purely vertical subsidence of the lithosphere, either thermally or mechanically driven. Thermal subsidence may be related to orogenic thickening, radiogenic heating and erosion associated with supercontinent assembly, whereas mechanical subsidence may be a result of the emplacement in the lower crust or upper mantle of a dense igneous body related to plume activity during the lifetime of a supercontinent.
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Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Fifty years ago, Tuzo Wilson published his paper asking ‘Did the Atlantic close and then re-open?’. This led to the ‘Wilson Cycle’ concept in which the repeated opening and closing of ocean basins along old orogenic belts is a key process in the assembly and breakup of supercontinents. The Wilson Cycle underlies much of what we know about the geological evolution of the Earth and its lithosphere, and will no doubt continue to be developed as we gain more understanding of the physical processes that control mantle convection, plate tectonics, and as more data become available from currently less accessible regions.
This volume includes both thematic and review papers covering various aspects of the Wilson Cycle concept. Thematic sections include: (1) the Classic Wilson v. Supercontinent Cycles, (2) Mantle Dynamics in the Wilson Cycle, (3) Tectonic Inheritance in the Lithosphere, (4) Revisiting Tuzo's question on the Atlantic, (5) Opening and Closing of Oceans, and (6) Cratonic Basins and their place in the Wilson Cycle.