Numerical modelling of stratal architectures resulting from differential loading of a mobile substrate

  • Cohen H
  • Hardy S
  • 27


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 7


    Citations of this article.


A numerical model is presented in which a viscous layer flows in response to differential loading by deltaic sedimentation. No density effects are cconsidered; the mobile layer and overlying sediments deform solely in response to differential thicknesses of sedimentary overburden. Modelling results include the following key features: (1) sedimentary depocentres are asymmetric and spoon-shaped, with flat-lying shelf strata grading laterally into foreset slope strata at a prograding shelf-slope break; (2) the locus of deformation is controlled by the position of the shelf-slope break; and (3) a displaced bulge of mobile substrate migrates seaward faster than the shelf-slope break progrades. Using viscosities characterisitic of natural salt (η = 1016 to 1019 Pa s), the sensitivity of the model to several parameters is examined. Increasing the mobile layer thickness increases the rate of substrate withdrawal in a manner similar to decreasing its viscosity. A shorter sediment transport distance results in steeper depositional slopes and faster substrate withdrawal. Comparison with a Miocene example from offshore Texas demonstrates that structures qualitatively attributed to differential loading can be successfully modelled using reasonable values for sediment supply, relative sea-level rise, and substrate thickness.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text


  • Harvey A. Cohen

  • Stuart Hardy

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free