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Sedimention and Plate Tectonics

Until the 1960s, sedimentary basins were explained and categorized in terms of geosyncline theory (Dott 1974, 1978; Mitchell and Reading 1978). Such classic books as those by Kay (1951), Krumbein and Sloss (1963), and Aubouin (1965) had a profound impact on geologists and formed the basis for all large-scale interpretations. However, we can now see that these and other studies, although meticulously descriptive, could not ultimately explain why or how most basins formed or why there were recurrent structural styles or lithofacies assemblages. Beginning with the development of plate tectonics in the 1960s, much has now become clear. The kinematics of modern plate movements have been documented in some detail and have provided geologists and geophysicists with a reliable data bank from which to build and constrain models of deep-lithospheric behavior. Beginning with the basin models of McKenzie, Beaumont, and others in the late 1970s (Chap. 7), our understanding of crustal and mantle processes has led to the development of the science of geodynamics, by which surface tectonic processes and events may be related to processes deep in the earth’s interior.

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