Piggyback or foreland-propagating thrust sequences, where younger thrusts develop in the footwalls of existing thrusts, are generally assumed to be the typical order of thrust development in most orogenic settings. However, overstep or ‘break-back’ sequences, where later thrusts develop above and in the hangingwalls of earlier thrusts, may potentially form during cessation of movement in gravity-driven mass transport deposits (MTDs). In this study, we provide a detailed outcrop-based analysis of such an overstep thrust sequence developed in an MTD in the southern Dead Sea Basin. Evidence that may be used to discriminate overstep thrusting from piggyback thrust sequences within the gravity-driven fold and thrust belt includes upright folds and forethrusts that are cut by younger overlying thrusts. Backthrusts form ideal markers that are also clearly offset and cut by overlying younger forethrusts. Portions of the basal detachment to the thrust system are folded and locally imbricated in footwall synclines below forethrust ramps, and these geometries also support an overstep sequence. However, new ‘short-cut’ basal detachments develop below these synclines, indicating that movement continued on the basal detachment rather than it being abandoned as in classic overstep sequences. Further evidence for ‘synchronous thrusting’ where movement on more than one thrust occurs at the same time, is provided by displacement patterns on sequences of thrust ramp imbricates that systematically increases downslope towards the toe of the MTD. Older thrusts that initiate downslope in the broadly overstep sequence continue to move and therefore accrue greater displacements during synchronous thrusting. Our study provides a template to help distinguish different thrust sequences in both orogenic settings and gravity-driven surficial systems, with displacement patterns potentially being imaged in seismic sections across offshore MTDs.
- Dead sea
- Soft sediment