Foreland thrust-fold belts are common on margins of the world's mountain chains. They are generally thrust upon (verge), and are arcuate toward, an adjacent continental interior. Many have low-angle thrust faults and fold geometry disharmonic to an underlying basement, and are frequently termed “decollements.”

The plate tectonics of the Neogene Zagros, Jura, New Guinea, sub-Andean, and Himalaya foreland belts are varied, ranging from collision to back-arc settings, but all were developed on leading edges of actively driving continental plates. They are thrust upon, and against the motion of, these plates. In contrast, Neogene back-arc spreading developed on margins of plates whose motion is parallel to, or away from, an adjacent arc-trench.

Foreland thrust-fold belts are mainly due to underthrusting of continental lithosphere on leading edges of actively driving continental plates in either collision or back-arc settings. If the principle is applied to pre-Mesozoic mountain ranges, it may provide another parameter to determine pre-Mesozoic plate motions.

This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.