Brine migrations across North America - the plate tectonics of groundwater

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In recent years geologists have come to appreciate that warm, saline groundwaters have migrated for many hundreds of kilometers across the North American craton. Increasingly it is clear that the migrating brines originated in the forelands of North American tectonic belts, and that the migrations coincided in time with the intervals during which the belts were deformed. In this paper the evidence that the brine migrations occurred as giant hydrothermal systems operating on regional scales is described, paying greatest attention to the Ouachita-Arkoma belt and the neighboring area of the midcontinent to the north (parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Kansas). In addition, the link between tectonic deformation and deep groundwater flow is investigated. The resulting picture shows groundwater migration as an important, albeit generally neglected, aspect of plate tectonic theory. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-315
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Earth & Planetary Sciences
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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