Evolution from Passive Margin to Foreland Basin: The Atoka Formation of the Arkoma Basin, South-Central U.S.A.

  1. P. A. Allen and
  2. P. Homewood
  1. David W. Houseknecht

Published Online: 5 MAY 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303810.ch18

Foreland Basins

Foreland Basins

How to Cite

Houseknecht, D. W. (1986) Evolution from Passive Margin to Foreland Basin: The Atoka Formation of the Arkoma Basin, South-Central U.S.A., in Foreland Basins (eds P. A. Allen and P. Homewood), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303810.ch18

Author Information

  1. Department of Geology, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 MAY 2009
  2. Published Print: 22 DEC 1986

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632017324

Online ISBN: 9781444303810



  • evolution from passive margin to foreland basin - Atoka Formation of Arkoma Basin, south-central U.S.A.;
  • strata of Arkoma basin and Ouachita orogenic belt reflecting opening and closing of Palaeozoic ocean basin (Iapetus);
  • tectonic models to explain geological history of Ouachita orogenic belt;
  • syndepositional normal faults;
  • spiro sedimentology;
  • Atokan (post-spiro) sedimentology;
  • Arkoma foreland basin - developing in response to convergent tectonism


Atokan strata of the Arkoma basin record the transition from sedimentation on a passive, rifted margin to sedimentation in a foreland basin developed by convergent tectonic activity along the Ouachita orogenic belt. The basal Atoka Spiro sandstone was deposited along a tidally swept coastline on a tectonically stable shelf that had prevailed since the late Cambrian. The remainder of the Atoka Formation was deposited during the breakdown of that shelfal area by normal faults, apparently induced by obduction of the Ouachita accretionary prism on to the southern margin of North American crust. The resulting wedge of Atokan strata displays evidence of syndepositional fault movement that significantly influenced sediment dispersal patterns, distribution of certain facies, and thickness patterns within the basin. Deposition on a muddy slope dissected by tectonically localized slope channels characterized that part of the basin where active fault movement was occurring. By the end of Atokan time, syndepositional faulting had ceased, and flexural subsidence and deposition of coal-bearing molasse characterized the final phase of foreland basin evolution.