The Wichita uplift represents a tectonic element within the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, a series of basement-involved uplifts and associated basins within the foreland of the Ouachita orogen. Contrasting tectonic models for the evolution of the Wichita uplift are evaluated by (i) analyzing the suite of structures within the Frontal fault zone, which separates the uplift from the adjoining Anadarko basin, and (ii) undertaking a palinspastic restoration of Houton Group (Late Ordovician-Devonian) thickness trends between the basin and the Frontal fault zone to estimate the magnitude and sense of offset across the principal uplift-bounding faults.
Cross sections from uplift to basin show basement-involved thrusts and folds similar to those recognized within the Laramide (Late Cretaceous-Tertiary) foreland of the Rocky Mountains. Structural patterns in map view possess elements that have been previously interpreted as resulting from reverse slip and/or left slip on the uplift-bounding faults.
Palinspastic restoration of isopach patterns between the Frontal fault zone and Anadarko basin indicates that offset across the frontal faults may be explained by oblique slip (left reverse slip) on the uplift bounding faults. The component of left slip is nearly an order off magnitude less than proposed in some previous models of Carboniferous tectonism within the foreland of the Ouachita orogen.