Erosion-rate determination from foreland basin geometry

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18 Scopus citations


The geometry of foreland basins is controlled by a dynamic balance between thrust-belt migration, flexural subsidence, and fluvial deposition. To improve our ability to quantify the relationships between tectonics, climate, and foreland basin geometry, I developed analytic solutions for basin topography and stratigraphy using a classic two-dimensional mathematical model of foreland basin evolution. Model predictions for basin topography are successfully tested against observed profiles along a humid-to-arid climatic gradient in the central Andes. Using published estimates for the thrust-belt migration rate, flexural parameter, and thrust-front basin depth in this region, I show that basin topographic proffies can be used to estimate the upstream erosion rate at any point along a foreland basin. Basin-averaged erosion rates estimated in this way vary from 0.025 to 0.045 mm/yr in the central Andes, increasing from semiarid to humid climates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-8
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Diffusion
  • Flexure
  • Foreland basin
  • Modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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