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Tectonic Subsidence

Introduction

What is an extensional sedimentary basin?

The term sedimentary basin is used to refer to any geographical feature exhibiting subsidence and consequently infilling by sedimentation. Sedimentary basins can be classified into three main types based on their formation (lithospheric flexure, lithospheric stretching, and strike slip deformation of the lithosphere). In this report we will focus on the first of these types: sedimentary basins formed in zones of extension.

So why should we study them?

The study of sedimentary basins is of considerable importance in the field of geology for numerous reasons. Firstly, sedimentary basins cover significant regions of our planet and are the home to many people. Therefore, understanding the processes that govern their behaviour is important in fields such as construction and engineering. Sedimentary basins can also contain very significant fossil fuel deposits such petroleum, natural gas and coal. These resources are highly valuable and can be the foundation for an entire nation's economy. Finally, the processes that cause the formation and evolution of sedimentary basins today provide us with an insight into the processes that formed them in the past. This is of particular interest to resource exploration.

What are we going to cover in this report?

It is not within the scope of this report to cover all the aspects of sedimentary basins, their formation and evolution. Therefore we are especially focusing on the sedimentary basins that form in extensional zones as outlined above. Moreover, we will concentrate on several main areas of study: tectonic subsidence and thermal subsidence as well as examining the types of structures that form in sedimentary basins, accompanied by some specific examples.

Fig.1.1. The East  African Rift from space
Tectonic Subsidence
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