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Foreland basin subsidence driven by topographic growth versus plate subduction

Hugh D. Sinclair and M. Naylor
Foreland basin subsidence driven by topographic growth versus plate subduction
Geological Society of America Bulletin (November 2011) 124 (3-4): 368-379


The subsidence of foreland basins is classically thought to accelerate with time. However, a synthesis of data from numerous foreland basins recognizes a wide range of signals and rates. Our analysis investigates the influence of two broadly ubiquitous controlling factors: (1) the upward and outward growth of mountain topography and (2) the subduction velocity of the underthrust lithosphere. These two factors have contrasting subsidence signals: The former tends to be slow and decelerates, while the latter is more rapid and accelerates. The geodynamic setting of a foreland basin determines the degrees to which these components dominate the final signal of tectonically induced subsidence. In small collisional mountain ranges, the common asymmetry of subduction defines a pro- and a retro-foreland basin. Based on model experiments and the synthesized data, we demonstrate that pro-foreland basins exhibit short-lived (usually <40 m.y.), rapid (typically >0.05 km m.y. (super -1) ), accelerating subsidence histories recording only a portion of the orogenic history of the mountain range; type examples are the Carpathian foredeep and the North Alpine foreland basin. In contrast, retro-foreland basins are characterized by relatively slow (>0.05 km m.y. (super -1) ), protracted (usually >40 m.y.) subsidence that records the majority of the orogenic history; a good example is the Aquitaine foreland basin. Retro-arc foreland basins such as the Alberta Basin appear comparable to collisional retro-foreland basins. Examples where there is more protracted subsidence appear to record greater evidence of episodic loading and unloading as the topography of the range grows or shrinks in response to the balance between crustal thickening and erosion rates.

ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 124
Serial Issue: 3-4
Title: Foreland basin subsidence driven by topographic growth versus plate subduction
Affiliation: University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Pages: 368-379
Published: 20111121
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 46
Accession Number: 2012-012597
Categories: Solid-earth geophysicsStructural geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects.
N43°15'00" - N46°00'00", W01°30'00" - E02°00'00"
N46°00'00" - N49°49'60", E18°00'00" - E28°00'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201207
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