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A mechanism to explain rift-basin subsidence and stratigraphic patterns through fault-array evolution

Sanjeev Gupta, Patience A. Cowie, Nancye H. Dawers and John R. Underhill
A mechanism to explain rift-basin subsidence and stratigraphic patterns through fault-array evolution
Geology (Boulder) (July 1998) 26 (7): 595-598

Abstract

Rift-basin stratigraphy commonly records an early stage of slow subsidence followed by an abrupt increase in subsidence rate. The physical basis for this transition is not well understood, although an increase in extension rate is commonly implied. Here, a numerical fault-growth model is used to investigate the influence of segment linkage on fault-displacement-rate patterns along an evolving normal fault array. The linkage process we describe is controlled by a stress feedback mechanism, which leads to enhanced growth of optimally positioned faults. Model results indicate that, even with constant extension rates, slow displacement rates prevail during an initial phase of distributed extension, followed by an increase in displacement rates as strain becomes localized on linked fault arrays. This is due to the dynamics of fault interactions rather than mechanical weakening. Comparison of model simulations with rift-basin subsidence and stratigraphic patterns in the Gulf of Suez and North Sea suggests that the occurrence and timing of rapid basin deepening can be explained by the mechanics of fault-zone evolution, without invoking a change in regional extension rates.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 26
Serial Issue: 7
Title: A mechanism to explain rift-basin subsidence and stratigraphic patterns through fault-array evolution
Affiliation: University of Edinburgh, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Pages: 595-598
Published: 199807
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 22
Accession Number: 1998-044248
Categories: Structural geologyStratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sect., sketch map
N27°40'00" - N30°00'00", E32°19'60" - E34°10'00"
N61°10'00" - N61°25'00", E01°55'00" - E02°04'60"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 199817
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