1887
Volume 15, Issue 4
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2117

Abstract

Abstract

Reactivation of intraplate structures and weak zones within the foreland lithosphere disrupt the modelled geometry and pattern of migration of the flexural wave in foreland basins. In the southern Appalachians (USA), the Middle Ordovician unconformity, irregular Middle Ordovician distal foreland deposition and backstepping of Middle–lower Upper Ordovician carbonate strata have been related to migration of the flexural wave. However, integration of stratigraphy, tectonic subsidence history and composition of palinspastically restored distal foreland strata, using a map of subsurface basement structures as reference, allows us to distinguish an early event of inversion from two events of flexural migration. Sections restoring at very short distances outside the boundaries of a former basement graben have the youngest passive‐margin strata preserved beneath Middle Ordovician (∼466 Ma) peritidal to deep lagoonal carbonates with gravel‐size chert clasts. In contrast, sections restoring inside the graben record >470 m of truncation of pre‐Middle Ordovician passive‐margin strata, late onset of deposition (∼456 Ma), and subaerial features in carbonate and siliciclastic strata. The lacuna geometry and early patterns of distal foreland uplift and carbonate deposition indicate that inversion of a basement graben in response to Middle Ordovician convergence, rather than a migrating or semi‐fixed forebulge, was the primary control on the early evolution of the distal foreland. Drowning of the carbonate platform in more proximal settings, northeastward onset of deposition on upthrown blocks, and thick accumulation of carbonates in downthrown blocks record northwestward and northeastward flexural wave migration at the Middle–Late Ordovician boundary. In early Late Ordovician, the overall shoaling of carbonate and siliciclastic depocentres and the rise of tectonic subsidence curves indicate hinterlandward migration of flexural uplift. Both events of flexural migration were accompanied by influx of volcanic ash and synorogenic sediments.

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