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Continental size, eustasy and sediment yield


Sediment yield from modern continental blocks is a function of the area (dissolved load) and hypsometry (mechanical load) of the blocks. Hypsographic curves for modern continental blocks show that the change in the percentage area flooded for any change in eustatic sea level depends on the size of the block and the absolute sea level. This allows predictions of changes in sediment yield around different sized blocks for any given eustatic change. The range in size of continental blocks is such that, for any given sea level change, the blocks will show different percentage changes in yield. Data from modern continental blocks are compared with theoretical results. Assuming that the rules governing modern hypsometries applied in the past, and a constant volume of continental crust, it is possible to estimate the hypsographic curves of former continental blocks. The implications of suggested past continental configurations and sea levels for sediment yield are discussed.

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Wyatt, A.R. Continental size, eustasy and sediment yield. Geol Rundsch 82, 185–188 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00191824

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Key words

  • Sea level changes
  • Continental size
  • Sediment yield
  • Eustasy