Types of sedimentary basins

Rift-related basins

Basin type

Geological Origin


Rift basin

The down-dropped basin formed during rifting because of stretching and thinning of the continental crust

East Africa Rift


Passive margin basin

Subsidence along a passive margin, mostly due to long-term accumulation of sediments on the continental shelf

East coast of North America

Subduction-related basins

Trench (accretionary wedge)

Downward flexure of the subducting and non-subducting plates (sites of accretionary wedges)

Western edge of Vancouver Island

Forearc basin

The area between the accretionary wedge and the magmatic arc, largely caused by the negative buoyancy of the subducting plate pulling down on the overlying continental crust

Georgia Strait

Foreland basin

A depression caused by the weight of a large mountain range pushing the adjacent crust below sea level

The sediment filled plain south of the Himalayas

Transform-fault basins

Strike-slip basin

A pull-apart block (eg. between two transform faults) that subsides significantly

Various locations on the San Andreas Fault or the Anatolian Fault

  Steven Earle, Malaspina University-College, June 2004