Cretaceous sedimentary basins in Sichuan, SW China: Restoration of tectonic and depositional environments

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Abstract

This study documents sediment infill features and their responses to the tectonic evolution of the Sichuan Basin and adjacent areas. The data include a comparison of field outcrops, well drillings, inter-well correlations, seismic data, isopach maps, and the spatial evolution of sedimentary facies. We divided the evolutionary history of the Sichuan Cretaceous Basin into three stages based on the following tectonic subsidence curves: the early Early Cretaceous (145-125 Ma), late Early Cretaceous to early Late Cretaceous (125-89.8 Ma), and late Late Cretaceous (89.8-66 Ma). The basin underwent NW-SE compression with northwestward shortening in the early Early Cretaceous and was dominated by alluvial fans and fluviolacustrine sedimentary systems. The central and northern areas of the Sichuan Basin were rapidly uplifted during the late Early Cretaceous to early Late Cretaceous with southwestward tilting, which resulted in the formation of a depression, exhibited southwestward compression, and was characterized by aeolian desert and fluviolacustrine deposits. The tectonic framework is controlled by the inherited basement structure and the formation of NE mountains, which not only affected the clastic supply of the sedimentary basin but also blocked warm-wet currents from the southeast, which changed the climatic conditions in the late Late Cretaceous. The formation and evolution of Cretaceous sedimentary basins are closely related to synchronous subtle far-field tectonism and changes in climate and drainage systems. According to the analysis of the migration of the Cretaceous sedimentation centers, different basin structures formed during different periods, including periods of peripheral mountain asynchronous thrusting and regional differential uplift. Thus, the Sichuan Cretaceous sedimentary basin is recognized as a superimposed foreland basin.

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Li, Y., He, D., Chen, L., Mei, Q., Li, C., & Zhang, L. (2016). Cretaceous sedimentary basins in Sichuan, SW China: Restoration of tectonic and depositional environments. Cretaceous Research, 57, 50–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2015.07.013

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