Numerical modeling of foreland basin formation

A program relating thrusting, flexure, sediment geometry and lithospehre rheology

D. Garcia-Castellanos*, M. Fernàndez, M. Torne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)


An algorithm has been developed which allows the flexural deflection of the lithosphere to be calculated under thrust loading and the geometry of the sedimentary infill in the adjacent foreland basin. To that purpose we have considered arbitrarily shaped thrustload systems moving towards the foreland, and surface processes denudating the orogen and filling the basin. The regional compensation of topographic loads is based on the assumption that the lithosphere behaves as a thin plate with either homogeneous (elastic, viscoelastic) behavior or more realistic depth-dependent elastic-plastic rheology. When using heterogeneous rheology, the program calculates the flexural behavior as a function of crustal geometry and thermal regime of the lithosphere, thus relating the basin infill geometry with the deep lithosphere properties. We show some examples where the geometry of the basin and sedimentary infill (e.g. onlap/toplap patterns) are generated assuming different lithosphere rheologies and synthetic tectonic contexts which support the applicability of the model to study the formation and evolution of foreland basins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1003
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Geosciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Bending stress
  • Elastic
  • Erosion
  • Finite difference
  • Multilayered rheology
  • Sedimentation
  • Viscoelastic

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