COCORP (Consortium for Continental Reflection Profiling) deep reflection profiles recorded across the Wichita Mountains and Anadarko Basin suggest that significant crustal shortening occurred in the final stages of the evolution of the Southern Oklahoma aulacogen. The crystalline rocks of the Wichita Mountains were thrust in Pennsylvanian time northeastward over sedimentary rocks of the Anadarko Basin along a series of faults with moderate (average 30° to 40°) and southwesterly dips. These faults can be traced possibly as deep as 20 to 24 km. Listric thrust faults and hanging-wall anticlines developed in the sedimentary rocks of the basin. These features contrast with conventional interpretations of Pennsylvanian structures as the result of predominantly vertical movements along high-angle faults, and they suggest that Pennsylvanian downwarping of the Anadarko Basin was at least partially due to thrust loading. Truncations of reflections from Cambrian-Ordovician rocks in the deepest part of the basin suggest normal faulting, which would support ideas of an early extensional stage in the aulacogen cycle. The distinctive Precambrian layering seen on earlier COCORP data recorded south of the Wichita Mountains cannot be recognized under the Anadarko Basin, and the Proterozoic basin containing that layering may have been bounded on its north side by a Precambrian fault. This inferred fault was probably twice reactivated during formation of the Southern Oklahoma aulacogen—once during late Precambrian(?)-Early Cambrian extension, and again during Pennsylvanian compression. The popular view that aulacogens originated from radial rifting of updomed, homogeneous continental crust is probably too simplified, and a more important constraint on their location and development may be the nature of pre-existing lines of weakness.

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