Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Study of sedimentary basins key to many disciplines



Over geologic time, depressions of the lithosphere forming crustal lows are filled with surface materials deposited by wind, rivers, and ocean currents. These filled receptacles are called sedimentary basins, and their varied sizes and shapes are determined by geodynamic processes. Basin fill is important to geoscientists for two reasons: it preserves unique information about the history of tectonic, biologic, oceanographic, cryospheric, and atmospheric events that occurred throughout Earth's history, and it contains most of the fossil fuel and groundwater supplies and many of the mineral resources on which society depends. Understanding the configuration and properties of basin fill also has implications for the growing issue of disposing of hazardous waste without harming the biosphere.