Despite a well-documented record of preserved aeolian successions from sedimentary basins characterized by widely variable subsidence rates, the relationship between aeolian architecture and subsidence-driven accommodation generation remains poorly constrained and largely unquantified. Basin subsidence as a control on aeolian sedimentary architecture is examined through analysis of 55 ancient case-studies categorized into settings of ‘slow’ (>1–≤10 m Myr−1), ‘moderate’ (>10–≤100 m Myr−1) and ‘rapid’ (>100 m Myr−1) time-averaged subsidence rates. In rapidly subsiding basins, aeolian successions are thicker and associated with (1) thicker and more laterally extensive dune-sets with increased foreset preservation, (2) greater proportions of wet-type interdunes and surface stabilization features and (3) more extensive interdune migration surfaces, bounding sets that climb more steeply. In slowly subsiding basins, aeolian successions are thinner, and associated with a greater proportion of (1) aeolian sandsheets and (2) supersurfaces indicative of deflation and bypass. Rapid subsidence promotes (1) steeper bedform climb, resulting in increased preservation of the original dune foreset deposits and (2) relatively elevated water tables, leading to sequestration of deposits beneath the erosional baseline and encouraging development of stabilizing agents; both factors promote long-term preservation. Slow subsidence results in (1) lower angles of climb, associated with increased truncation of the original dune forms, and (2) greater post-depositional reworking, where sediment is exposed above the erosional baseline for extended time-periods. Quantitative analysis of sedimentary stratal architecture in relation to rates of basin subsidence helps constrain the mechanisms by which sedimentary successions are accumulated and preserved into the long-term stratigraphic record.

Supplementary material: Results of statistical analyses presented here are available at

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