In the young and active tectonic belt of southwestern Taiwan, reconstructed stratigraphy in the distal part of the foreland basin reveals at least two regional unconformities with the younger ones covering the areas farther from the mountain belt. In contrast with the previously proposed monotonous basin development, the temporal-spatial distribution of the unconformities indicates the back-and-forth migration of the foreland basin margin. Three distinct episodes of rapid subsidence during the foreland basin development have also been identified. The onset of the basin development can be well constrained by the initial rapid subsidence at 4.4-4.2. Ma, which happened only in the proximal part of the basin. This was followed by two younger episodes of rapid subsidence events at 2-1.8. Ma and 0.45. Ma, which were encountered initially in the areas progressively farther from the orogenic belt. We propose a model of episodic tectonic evolution in the distal part of the foreland basin in southwestern Taiwan. During each episode of rapid subsidence, uplifting that corresponds to the forebulge began with a concurrent rapid subsidence in the areas closer to the basin center and was followed by rapid subsidence and deposition of widespread strata onlapping toward the basin margin. Part of the widespread strata and its overlying deposits would be eroded in the beginning of the next episode when the forebulge shifted toward the orogenic belt. In general, rate of forebulge migrating away from the orogenic belt during the early stage was slower than that derived from a previously proposed kinematic model of a steady migration of the orogenic belt. This might be due to a rifted and weaker lithosphere beneath the foreland basin. Once the foreland basin migrated onto the less stretched lithosphere, the basin would expand rapidly into the craton.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes