In contractional orogens, a throughgoing basal-detachment system at middle to lower crustal levels or conceivably in the upper mantle detaches the entire crustal section from the underlying lithosphere. The decollement system connects transcurrent faults and coeval thrust belts and allows their motions to be viewed as the resolved components of a regional displacement field largely driven by relative plate motions. The formation of the regional decollement system during contraction may result in subdecollement volume problems and the formation of a lithospheric root in regions where crustal volume is conserved. In regions characterized by large-scale terrane accretion, addition of mass above the basal decollement may result in an essentially balanced system and may not require formation of a lithospheric root.

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