09 Mar 2023
 | 09 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Selective inversion of rift basins in lithospheric-scale analogue experiments

Anindita Samsu, Weronika Gorczyk, Timothy Chris Schmid, Peter Graham Betts, Alexander Ramsay Cruden, Eleanor Morton, and Fatemeh Amirpoorsaeed

Abstract. Basin inversion is commonly attributed to the reverse reactivation of normal basin-bounding faults. This association implies that basin uplift and inversion-related structures are mainly controlled by the frictional behaviour of pre-existing faults and associated damage zones. In this study, we use lithospheric-scale analogue experiments of orthogonal extension followed by shortening to explore how the flow behaviour of ductile layers underneath rift basins promote or suppress basin inversion. Our experiments show that the rheology of the ductile lower crust and lithospheric mantle, modulated by the imposed bulk strain rate, determine: (1) basin distribution in a wide rift setting and (2) strain accommodation by fault reactivation and basin uplift during subsequent shortening. When the ductile layers deformed uniformly during extension (i.e., stretching) and shortening (i.e., thickening), all of the basins were inverted. When viscous deformation was localised during extension (i.e., necking) and shortening (i.e., folding), only some basins – which were evenly spaced apart – were inverted. We interpret this selective basin inversion to be related to the superposition of crustal-scale and lithospheric-scale boudinage during the previous basin-forming extensional phase.

Anindita Samsu et al.

Status: open (until 02 May 2023)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-411', Anouk Beniest, 17 Mar 2023 reply

Anindita Samsu et al.

Anindita Samsu et al.


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Short summary
When a continent is pulled apart, it breaks and forms a series of depressions called rift basins. These basins lie above weakened crust that is then subject to intense deformation during subsequent tectonic compression. Our analogue experiments show that when a system of basins is squeezed in a direction perpendicular to the main orientation of the basins, some basins rise up to form mountains while others do not.