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Formation of sequences in the cratonic interior of North America by interaction between mantle, eustatic, and stratigraphic processes

Burgess, Peter M. and Gurnis, Michael and Moresi, Louis (1997) Formation of sequences in the cratonic interior of North America by interaction between mantle, eustatic, and stratigraphic processes. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 109 (12). pp. 1515-1535. ISSN 0016-7606. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(1997)109<1515:FOSITC>2.3.CO;2.

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Models integrating geodynamic and stratigraphic processes show that some gross features of Phanerozoic North American cratonic strata can be explained with dynamic topographies generated by subduction and cycles of supercontinent aggregation and dispersal. A three-dimensional finite-element model is used to calculate mantle flow beneath North America during Phanerozoic time in response to episodes of subduction at cratonic margins and two cycles of supercontinent formation and breakup. Dynamic topographies calculated by the flow models are used as input to a stratigraphic model that also includes background subsidence, eustasy, denudation, clastic and carbonate deposition, compaction, and isostasy. These models successfully reproduce aspects of the Sloss sequences; the best matches were obtained by combining two wavelengths of dynamic topography with second-order eustasy. Long-wavelength dynamic topography generates first-order stratal cyclicity. Periods of erosion were shorter when North America was over a dynamic topography low than when it was over a high. Long-wavelength dynamic topography also explains the absence of Mesozoic strata on the eastern portion of the craton. Characteristic stratal patterns are shown to result from subduction-related dynamic topography, although sensitive to sediment supply and other subsidence mechanisms. Aspects of Upper Cretaceous stratal patterns may be explained by the effects of Farallon plate subduction. Generally, strata deposited in a dynamic topography depression have low preservation potential because the topography is reversible. Thus, ancient subduction-related dynamic topography is most likely to be represented by unconformities.

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URLURL TypeDescription<1515:FOSITC>2.3.CO;2DOIArticle
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Moresi, Louis0000-0003-3685-174X
Additional Information:© 1997 Geological Society of America. Manuscript received by the Society: May 1, 1996; revised manuscript received: March 18, 1997; manuscript accepted May 3, 1997. The work was funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and National Science Foundation grants EAR-9496185 and EAR-9417645. We thank D. Kemp, S. Zhong, P. Allen, J. Verlander, and G. S. Robertson for helpful discussions, D. Anderson and J. Grotzinger for their comments on the manuscript, and S. Dorobek, B. Coakley, and an anonymous reviewer for thorough, thoughtful reviews. This represents contribution number 5673 of the Division of Geological and Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
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David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences5673
Issue or Number:12
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ID Code:36537
Deposited On:23 Jan 2013 21:12
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:22

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