Clinoform architecture and along-strike variability through an exhumed erosional to accretionary basin margin transition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Miquel Poyatos-Moré
  • George Jones
  • Daniel Tek
  • David Hodgson


Exhumed basin margin-scale clinothems provide important archives for understanding process interactions and reconstructing the physiography of sedimentary basins. However, studies of coeval shelf through slope to basin-floor deposits are rarely documented, mainly due to outcrop or subsurface dataset limitations. Unit G from the Laingsburg depocentre (Karoo Basin, South Africa) is a rare example of a complete basin margin scale clinothem (>60 km long, 200 m-high), with >10 km of depositional strike control, which allows a quasi-3D study of a preserved shelf-slope-basin floor transition over a ca. 1200 km2 area. Sand-prone, wave-influenced topset deposits close to the shelf-edge rollover zone can be physically mapped down dip for ca. 10 km as they thicken and transition into heterolithic foreset/slope deposits. These deposits progressively fine and thin over 10s of km farther down dip into sand-starved bottomset/basin floor deposits. Only a few km along strike, the coeval foreset/slope deposits are bypass-dominated with incisional features interpreted as minor slope conduits/gullies. The margin here is steeper, more channelized, and records a stepped profile with evidence of sand-filled intraslope topography, a preserved base-of-slope transition zone and sand-rich bottomset/basin-floor deposits. Unit G is interpreted as part of a composite depositional sequence that records a change in basin margin style from an underlying incised slope with large sand-rich basin-floor fans to an overlying accretion-dominated shelf with limited sand supply to slope and basin-floor. The change in margin style is accompanied with decreased clinoform height/slope and increased shelf width. This is interpreted to reflect a transition in subsidence style from regional sag, driven by dynamic topography/inherited basement configuration, to early foreland basin flexural loading. Results of this study caution against reconstructing basin margins.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalBasin Research
Early online date25 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Related information


View all