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Inherited landscapes and sea level change
Cloetingh, S.; Haq, B.U. (2015). Inherited landscapes and sea level change. Science (Wash.) 347(6220): 393 (1258375).
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Cloetingh, S.
  • Haq, B.U.

    Enabled by recently gained understanding of deep-seated and surficial Earth processes, a convergence of views between geophysics and sedimentary geology has been quietly taking place over the past several decades. Surface topography resulting from lithospheric memory, retained at various temporal and spatial scales, has become the connective link between these two methodologically diverse geoscience disciplines. Ideas leading to the hypothesis of plate tectonics originated largely with an oceanic focus, where dynamic and mostly horizontal movements of the crust could be envisioned. But when these notions were applied to the landscapes of the supposedly rigid plate interiors, there was less success in explaining the observed anomalies in terrestrial topography. Solid-Earth geophysics has now reached a developmental stage where vertical movements can be measured and modeled at meaningful scales and the deep-seated structures can be imaged with increasing resolution. Concurrently, there have been advances in quantifying mechanical properties of the lithosphere (the solid outer skin of Earth, usually defined to include both the crust and the solid but elastic upper mantle above the asthenosphere). The lithosphere acts as the intermediary that transfers the effects of mantle dynamics to the surface. These developments have allowed us to better understand the previously puzzling topographic features of plate interiors and continental margins. On the sedimentary geology side, new quantitative modeling techniques and holistic approaches to integrating source-to-sink sedimentary systems have led to clearer understanding of basin evolution and sediment budgets that allow the reconstruction of missing sedimentary records and past geological landscapes.

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