Please wait a minute...
img img
Adv. Search
Advances in Earth Science  2010, Vol. 25 Issue (7): 706-714    DOI: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2010.07.0706
Characteristics and Genesis of Terrigenous Depositional Sequences in Foreland Basins
Lv Honghua, Zhou Zuyi
State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
Download:  PDF (2178KB) 
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      

Foreland basins, commonly defined as sedimentary basins lying between the front of the mountain chain and the adjacent craton, represent a well-established model related to tectonics and sedimentation. Many foreland basins are characterized by coarseningupward terrigenous depositional sequences, within which the occurrence of conglomeratic deposits are commonly considered as indicating tectonic uplift of the source area. The conglomeratic deposition, however, could derive from several totally different scenarios such as hinterland tectonic uplift, isostatic rebound of basement because of erosional unloading, climate change affecting erosion rate, or changes in the lithologic resistance of the source area and so on. As for the tectonic uplift experienced in the source area, its onset timing can not be referred simply from the stratigraphic age of conglomeratic deposits due to the presence of time lag between the tectonic event experienced in the hinterland and the occurrence of conglomeratic deposits in the foreland depositional area. Consequently, the distribution of conglomeratic deposits in the whole basin is time-transgressive, that is, the basal ages of the conglomerate deposits from different locations in a foreland basin may be asynchronous. Given these above possibilities, it is suggested that all the available geological evidences are required to be integrated in the studies of terrigenous depositional successions of foreland basins in order to obtain a better understanding of their relationship between the evolution of the foreland basin and the adjacent orogenic belt.

Key words:  Foreland basin      Tectonic events      Climatic change      Time lag      Time-transgressive     
Received:  10 October 2009      Published:  10 July 2010
Corresponding Authors:  Lv Honghua     E-mail:
E-mail this article
Add to my bookshelf
Add to citation manager
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors

Cite this article: 

Lv Honghua, Zhou Zuyi. Characteristics and Genesis of Terrigenous Depositional Sequences in Foreland Basins. Advances in Earth Science, 2010, 25(7): 706-714.

URL:     OR

[1] Dichinson W R. Plate tectonics and sedimentation[C]//Dickinson W R, ed. Tectonics and Sedimentation. Special Publication SEPM (22), 1974: 1-27.[2] DeCelles P G, Giles K A. Foreland basin systems[J]. Basin Research,1996, 8: 105-123.
[3]  Jordan T E. Retroarc foreland and related basins[C]//Busby C J, Ingersoll R V, eds. Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins. Oxford: Blackwell Science, 1995: 331-362.
[4] Lu H, Howell D G, Jia D. Rejuvenation of the Kuqa foreland basin, northern flank of the Tarim basin, northwest China[J]. International Geology Review,1994, 36: 1 151-1 158.
[5] Hendrix M S, Graham S A, Carroll A R, et al. Sedimentary record and climatic implications of recurrent deformation in the Tian Shan: Evidence from Mesozoic strata of the north Tarim, south Junggar, and Turpan basins, northwest China[J].Geological Society of America Bulletin,1992, 104: 53-79.
[6] Chen Fajing, Wang Xinwen, Chen Zhaonian, et al. Foreland Basin Analysis\[M\]. Beijing: Geology Publish House,2007.[陈发景, 汪新文, 陈昭年, 等. 前陆盆地分析[M]. 北京:地质出版社,2007.]
[7] Wang Hua, Wu Qiaosheng, Li Shaohu, et al. Overview of study on the types and sedimentary dynamics of foreland basin[J].Geological Science and Technology Information,1998, 17(3): 12-18.[王华, 吴巧生, 李绍虎, 等.前陆盆地类型及其沉积动力学研究综述[J]. 地质科技情报, 1998, 17(3): 12-18.]
[8] Liu Hefu. Classification of foreland basin and fold thrust style[J].Earth Science Frontiers,1995, 2(3/4): 59-68.[刘和甫. 前陆盆地类型及褶皱—冲断层样式[J]. 地学前缘, 1995, 2(3/4): 59-68.]
[9] Gao Changlin, Ye Deliao, Qian Yixiong. Classification of foreland basin and aspects of hydrocarbon resources[J]. Experimental Petroleum Geology,2000, 22(2): 99-105.[高长林, 叶德燎, 钱一雄. 前陆盆地的类型及油气远景[J]. 石油实验地质, 2000, 22(2): 99-105.]
[10] Zhang Mingli, Jin Zhijun, Tang Liangjie, et al. Review and outlook of the study of foreland basin[J]. Geological Review,2002, 48(2): 214-220.[张明利, 金之钧, 汤良杰, 等. 前陆盆地研究的回顾与展望[J]. 地质论评, 2002, 48(2): 214-220.]
[11] Chen Shuping, Tang Liangjie, Zhang Yiwei. Foreland, foreland basin and foreland basin system[J]. World Geology,2001, 20(4): 332-338.[陈书平, 汤良杰, 张一伟. 前陆、前陆盆地和前陆盆地系统[J]. 世界地质, 2001, 20(4): 332-338.]
[12] Liu Shaofeng, Li Sitian. Formation mechanism of foreland basin[J]. Earth Science-Journal of China University of Geosciences,1996, 21(1): 57-62.[刘少峰, 李思田. 前陆盆地形成的力学机制[J]. 地球科学, 1996, 21(1): 57-62.]
[13] Liu Shaofeng. Forming-mechanism and filling-evolution of foreland basin[J].Advances in Earth Science,1993,8(4): 30-37.[刘少峰.前陆盆地的形成机制和充填演化[J].地球科学进展,1993, 8(4): 30-37.][14] Wang Guocan. Relation between foreland basin and thrusting uplift within orogenic belt[J]. Earth Science Frontiers,1995, 2(1/2): 8. [王国灿. 造山带前陆盆地与造山逆冲隆升作用的对应关系[J]. 地学前缘, 1995, 2(1/2): 8.]
[15] Dong Yunpeng, Zhang Guowei. Some ideas and advances in studies on tectonics and dynamics of orogenic belt and foreland basin[J].Advances in Earth Science,1997, 12(1): 1-6. [董云鹏, 张国伟. 造山带与前陆盆地结构构造及动力学研究思路和进展[J]. 地球科学进展, 1997, 12(1): 1-6.]
[16]〓[ZK(]Verges J, Marzo M, Munoz J A. Growth strata in foreland settings[J].Sedimentary Geology,2002, 146: 1-9. 
[17] DeCelles P G, Gray M B, Ridgway K D, et al. Kinematic history of a foreland uplift from Paleocene synorogenic conglomerate, Beartooth Range, Wyoming and Montana[J].Geological Society of America Bulletin,1991, 103: 1 458-1 475.
[18] DeCelles P G, Gehrels G E, Quade J, et al. Eocene-early Miocene foreland basin development and the history of Himalayan thrusting, western and central Nepal[J].Tectonics,1998, 17(5): 741-765.[19] Gu Jiayu, Zhang Xingyang. Sedimentary characteristics and sequence framework of intracontinental foreland basin in the western China[J]. Acta Sedimentologica Sinica, 2005, 23(2): 187-193. [顾家裕, 张兴阳. 中国西部陆内前陆盆地沉积特征与层序格架[J]. 沉积学报, 2005, 23(2): 187-193.][20] Wang Zecheng, Liu Hefu, Xiong Baoxian, et al. Basin-mountain coupling analysis from filling stratigraphy of foreland basin[J].Earth Science-Journal of China University of Geosciences,2001, 26(1): 33-39. [汪泽成, 刘和甫, 熊宝贤, 等. 从前陆盆地充填地层分析盆山耦合关系[J]. 地球科学, 2001, 26(1): 33-39.]
[21] Catuneanu O, Beaumont C, Waschbusch P. Interplay of static loads and subduction dynamics in foreland basins: Reciprocal stratigraphies and the “missing” peripheral bulge[J]. Geology,1997, 25(12): 1 087-1 090.
[22] Flemings P B, Jordan T E. Stratigraphic modeling of foreland basins: Interpreting thrust deformation and lithosphere rheology[J]. Geology,1990, 18(5): 430-434.
[23] Horton B K, Constenius K N, DeCelles P G. Tectonic control on coarse-grained foreland-basin sequences: An example from the Cordilleran foreland basin, Utah[J]. Geology,2004, 32(7): 637-640.
[24] Jordan T E. Thrust loads and foreland basin evolution, Cretaceous, western United States[J]. Bulletin American Association Petroleum Geology, 1981, 65: 2 506-2 520.
[25] Covey M. The evolution of foreland basins to steady state: Evidence from the western Taiwan foreland basin[C]//Allen P A, Homewood P, eds. Foreland Basins. Special Publication of the International Association of Sedimentologists,1986,(8): 77-90.
[26] Burbank D W. Causes of recent Himalayan uplift deduced from deposited patterns in the Ganges Basin[J].Nature,1992, 357: 680-683.
[27] Heller P L, Angevine C L, Winslow N S, et al. Two-phase stratrgraphic model of foreland-basin sequences[J]. Geology,1988, 16: 501-504.
[28] Heller P L, Paola C. The large-scale dynamics of grain-size variation in alluvial basins, 2: Application to syntectonic conglomerate[J].Basin Research,1992, 4: 91-102.
[29] Jordan T E, Flemings P B, Beers J A. Dating thrustfault activity by use of foreland-basin strata[C]//Kleinspehn K L, Paola C, eds. New Perspectives in Basin Analysis. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988: 307-330.
[30] Paola C, Heller P L, Angevine C L. Large-scale dynamics of grain-size variation in alluvial basins, 1: Theory[J].Basin Research,1992, 4: 73-90.
[31] Burbank D W, Beck R A, Raynolds R G H, et al. Thrusting and gravel progradation in foreland basins: A test of post-thrusting gravel dispersal[J].Geology,1988, 16(2): 1 143-1 146.
[32] Homke S, Verg S J, Garc S M, et al. Magnetostratigraphy of the Miocene-Pliocene Zagros foreland deposits in the front of the Pushe Kush Arc (Lurestan Province, Iran)[J]. Earth and Planetary Science Letters,2004, 225: 397-410.
[33] Chen Jie, Wyrwoll K H, Lu Yanchou, et al. Magnetochronology of the Yumen conglomerates and multi-pulsed folding and thrusting in the northern Qilian Shan[J]. Quaternary Sciences,2006, 26(1): 20-31.[陈杰, Wyrwoll K H, 卢演俦, 等. 祁连山北缘玉门砾岩的磁性地层年代与褶皱过程[J]. 第四纪研究, 2006, 26(1): 20-31.]
[34] Fang Xiaomin, Zhao Zhijun, Li Jijun, et al. Magnetostratigraphy of the late Cenozoic in Laojunmiao anticline in the northern Qianlian Shan and the uplift of the Tibet Plateau[J]. Science in China (Seriers D),2004, 34(2): 97-106. [方小敏, 赵志军, 李吉均, 等. 祁连山北缘老君庙背斜晚新生代磁性地层与高原北部隆升[J]. 中国科学:D辑, 2004, 34(2): 97-106.]
[35] Song Chunhui, Fang Xiaomin, Li Jijun, et al. Depositional evolution and tectonic uplift since 13 Ma in Jiuxi Basin in the northern Tibet Plateau[J]. Science in China (Seriers D),2001, 31(suppl.): 155-162.[宋春晖, 方小敏, 李吉均, 等.青藏高原北缘酒西盆地13Ma以来沉积演化与构造隆升[J]. 中国科学:D辑, 2001, 31(增刊):155-162.]
[36] Song Chunhui, Fang Xiaomin, Li Jijun, et al. Sedimentary evolution of the Guide Basin in the late Cenozoic and the uplift of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau[J]. Geological Review,2003, 49(4): 337-346.[宋春晖, 方小敏, 李吉均,等.青海贵德盆地晚新生代沉积演化与青藏高原北部隆升[J]. 地质论评, 2003, 49(4): 337-346.]
[37] Song Chunhui, Fang Xiaomin, Li Jijun, et al. Pliocene sedimentary environment of the Guide Basin on the northeast margin of the QinghaiXizang Plateau and its significance\[J\]. Quaternary Sciences,2003, 23(1): 92-102.[宋春晖, 方小敏, 李吉均, 等. 青藏高原东北部贵德盆地上新世沉积环境分析及其意义[J]. 第四纪研究, 2003, 23(1): 92-102.]
[38] Zhao Zhijun, Fang Xiaomin, Li Jijun, et al. Magnetochronology of the Jiuquan conglomerates and the uplift of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau[J]. Chinese Science Bulletin,2001, 46(14): 1 208-1 212.[赵志军, 方小敏, 李吉均, 等. 酒泉砾石层的古地磁年代与青藏高原隆升[J]. 科学通报, 2001, 46(14): 1 208-1212.]
[39] Zhao Zhijun, Fang Xiaomin, Li Jijun, et al. Magnetostratigraphy of the late Cenozoic in the Jiudong Basin in the northern Qilian Shan[J]. Science in China (Seriers D),2001, 31(suppl.): 195-201.[赵志军, 方小敏, 李吉均.祁连山北缘酒东盆地晚新生代磁性地层[J]. 中国科学:D辑, 2001, 31(增刊):195-201.][40] Lu H, Burbank D W, Li Y, et al. Late Cenozoic structural and stratigraphic evolution of the northern Chinese Tian Shan foreland[J]. Basin Research,2010, 22:249-269.
[41] Bullen M E, Burbank D W, Garver J, et al. Late Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the northwestern Tien Shan: New age estimates for the initiation of mountain building[J]. Geological Society of America Bulletin,2001, 113(12): 1 544-1 559.
[42] Bullen M E, Burbank D W, Garver J. Building the northern Tien Shan: Integrated thermal, structural, and topographic constraints[J]. Journal of Geology,2003, 111: 149-165.
[43] Charreau J, Chen Y, Gilder S, et al. Magnetostratigraphy and rock magnetism of the Neogene Kuitun He section (northwest China): Implications for Late Cenozoic uplift of the Tianshan mountains [J]. Earth and Planetary Science Letters,2005, 230: 177-192.
[44] Chen J, Burbank D W, Scharer K M, et al. Magnetochronology of the Upper Cenozoic strata in the Southern Chinese Tian Shan: Rates of Pleistocene folding and thrusting[J]. Earth and Planetary Science Letters,2002, 195: 113-130. 
[45] Heermance R V, Chen J, Burbank D W, et al. Chronology and tectonic controls of Late Tertiary deposition in the southwestern Tian Shan foreland, NW China[J]. Basin Research,2007, 19: 599-632.[46] Huang B C, Piper J D A, Peng S T, et al. Magnetostragraphic study of the Kuche Depression, Tarim Basin, and Cenozic uplift of the Tian Shan Range, Western China[J]. Earth and Planetary Science Letters,2006, 251: 346-364.
[47] Sobel E R, Dumitru T A. Thrusting and exhumation around the margins of the western Tarim Basin during the India-Asia collision[J]. Journal of Geophysical Research, 1997, 102: 5 043-5 063.
[48] Sun J M, Zhu R X, Bowler J. Timing of the Tianshan Mountains uplift constrained by magnetostratigraphic analysis of molasses deposits[J]. Earth and Planetary Science Letters,2004, 219: 239-253.
[49] Sun J M, Xu Q H, Huang B C. Late Cenozoic magnetochronology and paleoenvironmental changes in the northern foreland basin of the Tian Shan Mountains[J]. Journal of Geophysical Research,2007, 112, B04107, doi: 10.1029/2006JB004653.
[50] Deng Qidong, Feng Xianyue, Zhang Peizhen, et al. Active Tectonics of the Tian Shan Mountains[M]. Beijing: Seismology Press, 2000:399.[邓起东, 冯先岳, 张培震, 等. 天山活动构造[M]. 北京: 地震出版社, 2000:339.]
[51] Armstrong F C, Oriel S S. Tectonic development of Idaho-Wyoming thrust belt[J].American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Bulletin,1965, 49(11): 1 847-1 866.
[52] Flemings P B, Jordan T E. Stratigraphic modeling of foreland basins: Interpreting thrust deformation and lithosphere rheology[J]. Geology,1990, 18: 430-434.
[53] Carroll A R, Chetel L M, Smith M E. Feast to famine: Sediment supply control on Laramide basin fill[J].Geology,2006, 34(3): 197-200.
[54] Jones M A, Heller P L, Roca E, et al. Time lag of syntectonic sedimentation across an alluvial basin: Theory and example from the Ebro Basin, Spain[J].Basin Research,2004, 16: 467-488.
[55] Molnar P. Climate change, flooding in arid environments, and erosion rates[J]. Geology,2001, 29(12): 1 071-1 074.
[56] Molnar P. Late Cenozoic increase in accumulation rates of terrestrial sediment: How might climate change have affected erosion rates?[J].Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences,2004, 32: 67-89.
[57] Zhang P Z,Molnar P, Downs W R. Increased sedimentation rates and grain sizes 2-4 Myr ago due to the influence of climate change on erosion rates[J]. Nature,2001, 410: 891-897.
[58] Sun J M, Zhu R X, An Z S. Tectonic uplift in the northern Tibetan Plateau since 13.7 Ma ago inferred from molasses deposits along the Altyn Tagh Fault[J]. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2005, 235: 641-653.
[59] Burbank D W, Meigs A, Brozovic N. Interactions of growing folds and coeval depositional systems[J]. Basin Research,1996, 8: 199-223.
[60] Ori G G, Friend P F. Sedimentary basins formed and carried piggyback on active thrust sheets[J].Geology,1984, 12: 475-478.
[61] Colombo F. Normal and reverse unroofing sequences in syntectonic conglomerates as evidence of progressive basinward deformation[J].Geology,1994, 22(3): 235-238.
[62] Hendrix M S, Dumitru T A, Graham S A. Late Oligocene-early Miocene unroofing in the Chinese Tian Shan: An early effect of the IndiaAsia collision[J].Geology, 1994, 22: 487-490.
[63] Zeitler P K, Johnson N M, Briggs N D, et al. Uplift history of the NW Himalaya as recorded by fission-track ages on detrital Siwalik zircons[C]//Huang J, ed. Proceedings of the Symposium on Mesozoic and Cenozoic Geology in Connection of the 60th Anniversary of the Geological Society of China. Beijing: Geology Publish House, 1986: 481-496.
[64] Cerveny P F, Naeser N D, Zeitler P K, et al. History of uplift and relief of the Himalaya during the past 18 million years: Evidence from fission-track ages of detrital zircons from sandstones from the Siwalik Group[C]//Kleinspehn K L, Paola C, eds. New Perspectives in Basin Analysis. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988: 43-61.
[65] Brandon M T, Vance J A. Tectonic evolution of the Cenozoic Olympic subduction complex, Washington State, as deduced from fission track ages for detrital zircons[J]. American Journal of Science,1992,292: 565-636.
[66] Sobel E R, Oskin M, Burbank D W, et al. Exhumation of basement-cored uplifts: Example of the Kyrgyz Range quantified with apatite fission track thermochronology[J]. Tectonics,2006, 25, doi: 10.1029/2005TC001809.
[67] Burbank D W, Brewer I D, Sobel E R, et al. Single-crystal dating and the detrital record of orogenesis[C]//Nichols G, Williams E, Paola C, eds. Sedimentary Processes, Environments and Basin: A tribute to Peter Friend. Special Publication of the International Association of Sedimentologists, 2007, (38): 253-281.
[68] Ruiz G M H, Seward D, Winkler W. Detrital thermochronology-a new perspective on hinterland tectonics, an example from the Andean Amazon Basin, Ecuador[J]. Basin Research,2004, 16(3): 413-430.
[69] Zhang Pei, Zhou Zuyi. Geological applications of detrital thermochronology[J]. Advances in Earth Science,2008, 23(11): 1 130-1 140.[张沛, 周祖翼. 碎屑矿物热年代学研究进展[J]. 地球科学进展, 2008, 23(11): 1 130-1 140.]
[70] Bernet M, Brandon M T, Garver J I, et al. Fundamentals of detrital zircon fission-track analysis for provenance and exhumation studies with examples from the European Alps[C]//Bernet M, Spiegel C, eds. Detrital Thermochronology-Provenance Analysis, Exhumation, and Landscape Evolution of Mountain Belts. Geological Society of America Special Publication, 2004,378: 25-36.

[71] Willett S, Brandon M. On steady states in mountain belts [J]. Geology,2002, 30(2): 175-178.
[72] Burbank D W, Beck R A, Raynolds R G H, et al. Thrusting and gravel progradation in foreland basins: A test of post-thrusting gravel dispersal [J]. Geology,1988, 16(11): 1 143-1 146.
[73] Opdyke N D, Lindsay E H, Johnson G D, et al. Magnetic polarity stratigraphy and vertebrate paleontology of the Upper Siwalik Subgroup of northern Pakistan [J]. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeocology,1979, 27: 1-34.
[74] Johnson G D, Johnson N M, Opdyke N D, et al. Magnetic reversal stratigraphy and sedimentary tectonic history of the Upper Siwalik Group, Eastern Salt Range and Southwestern Kashmir[C]//Farah A, DeJong K A, eds. Geodynamics of Pakistan. Quetta: Geological Survey of Pakistan, 1979: 149-165.[75] Charreau J, Chen Y, Gilder S, et al. Neogene uplift of the Tian Shan Mountains observed in the magnetic record of the Jingou River section (northwest China) [J].Tectonics,28, TC2008, doi: 10.1029/2007TC002137.

No Suggested Reading articles found!