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Early crustal failure produced deep grabens which filled with fluvial and marine sediments. Subsequent growth faulting during the Paleozoic deepened these troughs, allowing deposition of thick sedimentary sequences in the Reelfoot basin and Rough Creek graben. Uplift of the Pascola arch closed the Illinois basin to the south, and erosion along the arch removed much of the sedimentary record.
Subsidence of the Mississippi embayment area allowed deposition of southward thickening continental and marine sediments. Subsequent erosion has produced the present-day areal distribution of geologic units.
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