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Geodynamic Basin Classification

G. deV. Klein

Four criteria (continental margin type, basin position within a plate, crustal type, geodynamic models and processes of basin formation are used to classify sedimentary basins. Within plate interiors, cratonic margin basins and interior cratonic basins are distinguished by position on a tectonic plate. In passive margins, rift basins, aulacogens, and flexure basins are distinguished by orientation with respect to margins (rifts parallel and aulacogens normal to margins) and geodynamic process (rifts and aulacogens form by stretching, flexure basins by elastic or viscoelastic flexure). Basins associated with active continental margins are distinguished by position with respect to margin, crustal type, and stress regimen. Trench-slope basins involve compressional-extensiona regimens, whereas trench basins, forearc basins and retroarc basins form in compressional regimes (retroarc basins on continental crust; forearc and trench basins occupy different positions on margin boundaries). Extensional intra-arc basins form on continental crust whereas backarc basins form by rifting oceanic crust and rapid thermal subsidence. Both pull-apart and transform basins form in transform margins by rifting and thermal subsidence with different translational stress regimens. In collision margins, foreland basins occur within continental plates, and superposed (or collage) basins occur along suture zones. Polyhistory basins include successor basins involving changing tectonic styles, and resurgent basins involving repeated tectonic styles. Many mapped basins show polyhistor . Thus the cratonic Illinois basin evolved through stages of a rift basin, followed by thermal subsidence akin to passive margins, followed by viscoelastic basin formation akin to a foreland basin.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.