The distribution and connectivity of channel sandstone bodies is a function of a complex suite of variables. To understand conditions associated with changes in channel course due to lateral gradients in subsidence (“channel steering”) in basins with lateral subsidence gradients, Straub et al. quantify patterns in an experimental basin as the ratio of tectonic tilting to channel mobility varied over four stages. The results reveal the importance of lateral gradients in subsidence rates relative to lateral mobility of channels in determining channel attributes. The results also predict situations in which the strength and duration of pulsed tilting events are sufficient to steer channels, and suggest that pulsed events must be strong enough and long-lived enough to produce comparable cross-basin to down-basin transport slopes. These insights document the broadly important role of interacting tectonics and subsidence in determining surface processes and stratigraphic architecture of channel systems.
Experimental investigation of sediment-dominated vs.tectonics-dominated sediment transport systems in subsiding basins by Kyle M. Straub, Chris Paola, Wonsuck Kim, and Ben Sheets