Journal article

Analogue modelling of basin inversion: implications for the Araripe Basin (Brazil)


Show more…
  • 2023
Published in:
  • Solid Earth. - Göttingen : Copernicus Publications. - 2023, vol. 14, no. 12, p. 1245-1266
English Basin inversion is a process that takes place when a sedimentary basin is subjected to compressional stresses resulting in the reactivation of pre-existing faults and/or the localization of deformation along new reverse faults. The Araripe Basin (NE Brazil) is an example of a Cretaceous intracontinental aborted rift, with its sedimentary infill found at ca. 1000 m altitude, 500 m above the host basement. Post-rift basin inversion has been proposed by previous authors as the cause of this topographic high, but how inversion affected this basin remains a matter of debate, with the following two end-member scenarios: reactivation of pre-existing normal faults leading to local uplift or regional uplift and differential erosion. Neither end-member fully explains the observations from seismic and field data. In this study, we, therefore, conducted analogue models to explore how basin inversion in the Araripe Basin could have taken place. We present two series of crustal-scale brittle–viscous experiments: (i) extension followed by compression without sedimentation, with a variation in divergence and convergence directions (orthogonal or 45∘ oblique); and (ii) extension with syn-rift sedimentation followed by compression, with the same variation in rifting and inversion directions. We found that orthogonal rifting without sedimentation forms throughgoing graben boundary faults, whereas oblique rifting initially creates en échelon faults that eventually link up, creating large graben boundary faults. Rift basins with syn-rift sedimentation evolved in a similar fashion; however, sedimentary loading resulted in increased subsidence. During both oblique and orthogonal inversion, most shortening was accommodated along new low-angle reverse faults. Significant intra-graben fault reactivation occurred in all models without syn-rift sedimentation. By contrast, orthogonal inversion of models with syn-rift sedimentation did not reactivate rift faults, whereas only a minor reactivation of rift faults took place during oblique inversion since the sediments strengthened the otherwise weakened basin, thus acting as a buffer during convergence. Based on our modelling results, we propose an alternative scenario for the evolution of the Araripe Basin, involving oblique inversion and the development of low-angle reverse faults, which better fits observations from seismic lines and field data from the region.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Géosciences
  • English
Earth sciences
Open access status
Persistent URL

Document views: 15 File downloads:
  • richetti_etal_2023_solid_earth.pdf: 4