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Through the use of an extensive data base of geophysical well logs, parasequence-scale subdivisions within a late Paleozoic synorogenic clastic wedge resolve cycles of sequential subsidence of a foreland basin, sediment progradation, subsidence of a carbonate shelf edge, diachronously subsiding discrete depositional centers, and basinwide transgression. Although temporal resolution of biostratigraphic markers is less precise in Paleozoic successions than in younger basins, parasequence-scale subdivisions provide more detailed resolution within marker-defined units in Paleozoic strata. As an example, the late Paleozoic Black Warrior basin in the foreland of the Ouachita thrust belt is filled with a synorogenic clastic wedge, the lower part of which intertongues with the fringe of a cratonic carbonate facie??s in the distal part of the basin. The stratal geometry of one tongue of the carbonate facie??s (lower tongue of Bangor Limestone) defines a ramp that grades basinward into a thin black shale. An overlying tongue of the synorogenic clastic wedge (lower tongue of Parkwood Formation) consists of cyclic delta and delta-front deposits, in which parasequences are defined by marine-flooding surfaces above coarsening- and shallow ing-upward successions of mudstone and sandstone. Within the lower Parkwood tongue, two genetic stratigraphie sequences (A and B) are defined by parasequence offlap and downlap patterns and are bounded at the tops by basinwide maximum-flooding surfaces. The distribution of parasequences within sequences A and B indicates two cycles of sequential subsidence (deepening) and progradation, suggesting subsidence during thrust advance and progradation during thrust quiescence. Parasequence stacking in sequences A and B also indicates diachronous differential tectonic subsidence of two discrete depositional centers within the basin. The uppermost sequence (C) includes reworked sandstones and an overlying shallow-marine limestone, a vertical succession that reflects no tectonic subsidence, a very minor or null sediment supply, and basinwide transgression. The temporal resolution at parasequence scale significantly improves the resolution of the tectonic history of the thrust belt-foreland basin system. Copyright ?? 1999, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).
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Sequential filling of a late paleozoic foreland basin