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The term "molasse" refers to the sandstones, shales and conglomerates formed as terrestrial or shallow marine deposits in front of rising mountain chains. The molasse is deposited in a foreland basin, especially on top of flysch, for example that left from the rising Alps, or erosion in the Himalaya. These deposits are typically the non-marine alluvial and fluvial sediments of lowlands, as compared to deep-water flysch sediments. Sedimentation stops once the orogeny stops, or once the mountains have eroded flat.
The molasse can sometimes completely fill a foreland basin, creating a nearly flat depositional surface, that nonetheless remains a structural syncline. Molasse can be very thick near the mountain front, but usually thins out towards the interior of a craton; such massive, convex accumulations of sediment are known as clastic wedges.
- Stanley, Steven M., Earth System History, New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1999, p.243 ISBN 0-7167-2882-6
- Sinclair, H. D. (1997) "Flysch to molasse transition in peripheral foreland basins: the role of the passive margin versus slab breakoff" Geology 25(12): pp. 1123–1126, doi: 10.1130/0091-7613(1997)025<1123:FTMTIP>2.3.CO;2
- Tenchov, Yanaki G. (1989) "Demarcation of Molasse from Non-molasse sediments" Zeitschrift für geologische Wissenschaften 17(8): pp. 791–796
- http://earth.leeds.ac.uk/alps/map/molasse.htm Molasse, definitions and examples, simplified geological map of the western Alps. University of Leeds
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