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Sedimentation and plate tectonics

  • Andrew D. Miall

Abstract

Until the nineteen sixties sedimentary basins were explained and categorized in terms of geosynclinal theory (Dott, 1974, 1978; Mitchell and Reading, 1978). Such classic books as those by Kay (1951), Krumbein and Sloss (1963) and Aubouin (1965) had a profound impact on geologists and formed the basis for all large-scale interpretations. However, we can now see that these and other studies, although meticulously descriptive, could not ultimately explain why or how most basins formed or why there were recurrent structural styles or lithofacies assemblages. With the development of plate tectonics much has become clear. The kinematics of modern plate movements have been documented in some detail, and have provided geologists and geophysicists with a reliable data bank from which to build and constrain models of deep crustal behavior. Most sedimentary basins can now be explained in terms of plate margin or plate interior processes, and their structure and stratigraphy have become more comprehensible. This has led to the growth, in the last ten years, of a brand new terminology for types of basin. For miogeosyncline we now have divergent margin basin, for exogeosyncline we have retroarc basin, and so on. In fact, it is recommended that the old terminology be entirely abandoned. Such terms as eugeosyncline and geanticline now serve only to confuse, because we can study many features so described and recognize that these terms fail to distinguish between several subtly, but importantly, different types of plate setting. Other general terms, including intermontane basin and successor basin, are also so imprecise as to be of little value. The papers by Dickinson (1974) and Bally and Snelson (1980) provide the best general basin descriptions and classifications using this new terminology. They are referred to extensively in this chapter.

Keywords

Continental Margin Oceanic Crust Plate Tectonic Suture Zone Backarc Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew D. Miall
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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