Response of minibasin subsidence to variable deposition : experiments and theory
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Differential loading induced deformation of a mobile substrate (e.g., salt tectonics) is an important process for the development of accommodation space and stratigraphic architectures in intra-slope minibasins. Numerous studies of minibasin systems have focused on either the tectonic processes involved in salt body deformation or the stratigraphic interpretation of the overburden sediment deposits. This study, however, focuses on coevolution of depositional and tectonic processes and provides a new insight of the linked evolution into the stratigraphic patterns. Using a silicone polymer to simulate a viscous mobile substrate, a series of 2D experiments were conducted to explore the effects of variation in 1) sedimentation rate, 2) depositional style (intermittent sediment supply), and 3) the thickness of the deformable salt substrate on subsidence patterns and minibasin evolution. Experiments results have shown that larger initial thickness of salt substrate as well as lower sedimentation rate caused greater amounts of subsidence for a given amount of deposit. Furthermore, increase in subsidence rate was observed as sedimentation continued, while decrease in subsidence rate occurred once sedimentation ceased. Due to the linked depositional and tectonic processes, higher sediment supply resulted in relatively slower subsidence and more actively widening minibasins. Lower sediment supply was observed to have the reverse effect, resulting in higher relative subsidence and a narrow basin width. A numerical model that captures viscous flow under the deposit is also presented here. The model for minibasin formation showed the effects of interaction of the two processes (deposition and tectonics) on the development of minibasin strata in the experiments. Experimental and modeled findings have resulted in a new model of minibasin development that incorporates the effects of sedimentation rates on subsidence patterns into basin evolution.