1. n. 
A depression in the crust of the Earth, caused by plate tectonic activity and subsidence, in which sediments accumulate. Sedimentary basins vary from bowl-shaped to elongated troughs. Basins can be bounded by faults. Rift basins are commonly symmetrical; basins along continental margins tend to be asymmetrical. If rich hydrocarbon source rocks occur in combination with appropriate depth and duration of burial, then a petroleum system can develop within the basin. Most basins contain some amount of shale, thus providing opportunities for shale gas exploration and production.
Synonyms: sedimentary basin