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Title: Tectonic, stratigraphic and geomorphic interactions, and mobile evaporite influence, in rift basins
Author: Duffy, Oliver
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines how the growth, interaction and linkage of normal faults, and the broader structural styles within rift basins, provide first-order controls upon syn-rift sediment routing and the development of coeval syn-rift stratigraphy. To achieve this, this thesis integrates observations from an area of active extension, alongside the stratigraphic record of an ancient rift basin. The former allows greater insight into sediment erosion, transport and preservation processes during rifting, whereas the latter represents the net depositional history, hence permitting a reconstruction of rift tectono-stratigraphic evolution. Recent advances in the understanding of landscape response to active faulting, have focused predominantly on large-scale rift provinces or where fault segments are widely-spaced across-strike (~15-30 km). As such, the neotectonic portion of this study integrates field and digitial terrain analysis to examine the geomorphic response to active faulting across the Perachora Peninsula (Gulf of Corinth, Central Greece), an uplifting, faulted-terrace setting. Here, the across-strike fault-spacing is small (~2-3 km), allowing fault segments to interact across-strike, and landscape evolution to be driven by a complex configuration of perched, intermittent and marine base-levels. These base-levels have a propensity to switch, with implications for sediment-routing and hanging-wall stratigraphic development. The preservation potential of sub-aerial syn-rift landscapes and basin-fill is extremely low in settings such as Perachora, due to the aggressive headward cannibalisation driven by ongoing tectonic uplift and short downstream distances to terminal base level. The subsurface stratigraphic study examines the Triassic-Jurassic syn-rift stratigraphy of the Danish Central Graben, an area displaying lateral variability in the original thickness and mobility of Late Permian Zechstein evaporites along-strike of the bounding Coffee-Soil Fault System. This setting enables a direct comparison between evaporite-influenced and non- evaporite-influenced rifting at a range of scales. By integrating observations of variability in structural style, with a systematic seismic-stratigraphic analysis of the syn-rift interval, the study documents how interactions between normal fault evolution and mobile evaporites influence: i) the variability in rift basin structural style; ii) the development of stratal geometries; and iii) the nature and location of depositional systems. On a basin-wide scale, the evaporite-influenced rift portions display more prominent fault-related and evaporite-related folding, which in turn controls syn-rift deposition, along with variable degrees of decoupling of basement and cover fault and fold systems. Focusing on the evaporite-influenced Coffee-Soil Fault System, variations in the locations and rates of accommodation generated by both load-driven withdrawal of evaporites up the hanging-wall dip-slope, and fault-related subsidence, provide a critical, and hitherto neglected control upon dip- and strike-oriented variability in hanging-wall stratigraphic architecture. Conceptual models for the development of hanging-wall stratigraphy, incorporating the influence of sediment supply rates upon load-induced evaporite mobilisation, provide a framework which may be used in the analysis of evaporite-influenced border fault systems worldwide. Overall, the findings of this thesis have implications for understanding the controls on spatial and temporal variability in structural style, sediment routing and syn-rift stratigraphic evolution in rift basins. In particular, the study highlights that to determine a deeper understanding of the interactions which determine the evolution of syn-rift stratigraphy, it is essential to examine basin processes in both modern and ancient rift settings, as well as at a range of scales.
Supervisor: Brocklehurst, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Danish Central Graben ; Gulf of Corinth ; fault growth and linkage ; syn-rift stratigraphy ; salt tectonics ; rift basins