The Evolution of Foreland Basins to Steady State: Evidence from the Western Taiwan Foreland Basin

  1. P. A. Allen and
  2. P. Homewood
  1. Michael Covey

Published Online: 5 MAY 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303810.ch4

Foreland Basins

Foreland Basins

How to Cite

Covey, M. (1986) The Evolution of Foreland Basins to Steady State: Evidence from the Western Taiwan Foreland Basin, in Foreland Basins (eds P. A. Allen and P. Homewood), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303810.ch4

Author Information

  1. Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA

  1. Exxon Production Research Center, P.O. Box 2189, Houston, Texas 77001, USA

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632017324

Online ISBN: 9781444303810



  • foreland basin evolution to steady state - evidence from western Taiwan foreland basin;
  • tectonic setting of western Taiwan foreland basin;
  • tectonic and sedimentary controls of sedimentary record;
  • tectonism in western Taiwan foreland basin development;
  • initial deep-water sedimentation pattern followed by shallow-water sedimentation


The three-dimensional distribution of lithofacies within the Pliocene–Pleistocene Taiwan foreland basin shows that the basin evolved from an early deep-water stage to a later shallow-water stage. The early stage occurred while the adjacent orogenic belt grew in size from a submarine ridge to a rugged mountain range. Crustal flexure adjacent to the growing orogenic load created a subsiding foreland basin, but low relief in the emerging mountains produced relatively little sediment, resulting in deep-water conditions in the foreland basin. The later stage occurred after the orogenic belt reached a maximum, steady-state size, where erosion balanced uplift. As the steady-state orogen migrated further on to the continental margin, crustal flexure caused by the mountain load remained constant while erosion and sedimentation reached a maximum, resulting in shallowing conditions as the foreland basin filled with sediment.

Once the basin filled, high-energy processes of fluvial, marginal-marine, and shallow-marine environments removed some sediment longitudinally out of the basin, around the orogenic belt and into the open ocean. The resulting decrease in sediment accumulation rates created a balance between sedimentation and subsidence and led to a steady state within the foreland basin. Thus tectonic and sedimentary processes interacted to give the foreland basin a constant cross-sectional area as both it and the mountain belt migrated farther towards the craton.