Continental drift and the global pattern of sedimentation

William W. Hay, Eric J. Barron, James Sloan, John R. Southam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The breakup of Pangaea through rifting and separation of the continents has special implications for the global pattern of sedimentation. The important initial conditions of Pangaea are area, elevation, the nature of the drainage and climate. The development of interior uplifts associated with rifting caused significant reorganization of drainage systems. Rifting and continental breakup result in unique sediment sequences on passive margins. The initial rift valleys were probably occupied by stratified fresh water lakes due to the equable Mesozoic climate, and during this phase might have accumulated about 7.5×1021 g of organic carbon; this would be 14% of the earth's total organic carbon concentrated on only 0.3% of the earth's surface. The sediments rich in organic carbon are expected to be typically overlain by evaporites. Sedimentation on the continental shelf is a complex interplay of thermal subsidence, sea level changes, sediment supply and isostatic adjustment. Beyond the shelf break, sedimentation rates in the world ocean appear to change significantly with time; during the Aptian-Albian, Campanian-Maastrichtian, Middle Eocene and Late Miocene-Quaternary overall sedimentation rates were about an order of magnitude higher than during the intervening periods. This variation is likely to be related to changing sediment supply responding to changes in sea level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-315
Number of pages14
JournalGeologische Rundschau
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 1981

Fingerprint

continental drift
sedimentation
rifting
Pangaea
sedimentation rate
sediment
organic carbon
continental breakup
climate
passive margin
Aptian
shelf break
Campanian
rift zone
Maastrichtian
evaporite
sea level change
lake water
total organic carbon
continental shelf

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Hay, William W. ; Barron, Eric J. ; Sloan, James ; Southam, John R. / Continental drift and the global pattern of sedimentation. In: Geologische Rundschau. 1981 ; Vol. 70, No. 1. pp. 302-315.
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Continental drift and the global pattern of sedimentation. / Hay, William W.; Barron, Eric J.; Sloan, James; Southam, John R.

In: Geologische Rundschau, Vol. 70, No. 1, 01.02.1981, p. 302-315.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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