Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

‘Block and basin’ style rift basins: sedimentological insights from the Mississippian Fell Sandstone Formation

Howell, Louis P.; Priddy, Charlotte; Mitten, Andrew J.; Jeffery, Adam J.; Egan, Stuart S.; Leslie, Graham; Pettigrew, Ross P.; Clarke, Stuart M.; Kearsey, Timothy I.

‘Block and basin’ style rift basins: sedimentological insights from the Mississippian Fell Sandstone Formation Thumbnail


Louis P. Howell

Charlotte Priddy

Andrew J. Mitten

Adam J. Jeffery

Graham Leslie

Ross P. Pettigrew

Timothy I. Kearsey


The block and basin tectonostratigraphic framework for the northern Pennine (rift) Basin, within which buoyant granite intrusions core intra-basin fault-bounded blocks, has long held traction. However, many of the elements of this framework are rooted in primitive tectonic models and, perhaps unsurprisingly, corresponding depositional models often reflect this. Using sedimentological and sedimentary provenance approaches, the synrift (Mississippian) fluvio-deltaic Fell Sandstone Formation and age-equivalent strata within the northern Pennine Basin are examined. Highlighted divergences from classically depicted models relate to occurrences of pre-Carboniferous basement domes or monoclines, which are unbounded by major vertically displacing (>100 m) fault systems. Such structures in the northern Pennine Basin are all granite-cored and their origins are associated with their buoyancy and flexural isostatic processes. One such basement dome, the Cheviot Block, confined and deflected the Fell Sandstone fluvio-deltaic system from the west, causing locally elevated net sand content and variations in the dominant palaeodrainage direction. Central parts of the Alston Block, which forms a regional monocline along an east–west axis, were comparatively uplifted because of flexural isostatic responses to granite intrusions. The findings presented are at variance not only with classically depicted depositional models for the region, but also with more general depictions of dominantly normal fault-driven rift basin systems.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 7, 2022
Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Journal Journal of the Geological Society
Print ISSN 0016-7649
Publisher The Geological Society
Volume 179
Issue 4
Pages jgs2021 - 083
Keywords Geology
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations