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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

CSPG Special Publications


Facts and Principles of World Petroleum Occurrence — Memoir 6, 1980
Pages 9-94
Geological and Geochemical Principles of Petroleum Occurrence

Realms of Subsidence

A. W. Bally, S. Snelson


In this review, three major basin families are differentiated:

1. Basins on rigid lithosphere and not associated with the formation of megasutures. These include rifts, Atlantic-type margins, and cratonic basins.

2. Perisutural basins on rigid lithosphere and associated with the formation of megasutures (e.g., compressional zones that encompass all deformational, igneous, and metamorphic products of a large orogenic cycle). Deep-sea trenches are perisutural basins associated with Benioff or B-subduction zones. Foredeeps are perisutural basins that are associated with and adjacent to Ampferer or A-subduction zones (e.g., zones where limited amounts of continental lithosphere are subducted).

3. Episutural basins within a megasuture. These include forearc basins, backarc basins, and basins that are related to the superposition of megashear systems on megasutures.

Basins on rigid lithosphere and certain episutural basins (such as backarc basins) are frequently initiated by thermally controlled rifting processes. Whether the thermal events lead to lithospheric uplift and attenuation, or whether they are themselves the consequence of lithospheric stretching remains to be evaluated for each basin class. Subsidence in these basins may be further modified by sediment loading, subcrustal flow, and density changes in the lower crust and mantle.

Perisutural basins of the deep-sea trench and foredeep type are probably due to lithospheric bending modified by loading with thrust sheets and folds associated with mountain-building processes, and by filling with sediments derived from the adjacent mountains.

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