Dr Bernard Besley, Besley Earth Science Ltd
A full reconstruction of the Variscan orogeny in southern Britain has yet to be achieved. This mountain building episode remains enigmatic, partly because much of the evidence is covered by younger sedimentary successions, and partly because much evidence was removed by very extensive uplift and denudation in the ±40-million-year time gap between the latest preserved Carboniferous sediments and the resumption of deposition in the late Permian.
One of the unsolved elements of the puzzle concerns the extent and nature of subsidence related to foreland loading in southern England. In this talk the nature and extent of late Carboniferous foreland subsidence is evaluated with reference to coal and oil exploration results from successions concealed beneath the Mesozoic in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, which allow demonstration of the timing and extent of foreland basin development in the penultimate stages of Variscan deformation.