Sequence Stratigraphy - Papers


This page lists some of the literature related to the use of sequence stratigraphic analysis to understand the sedimentary record. Some of the papers at the top of page are annotated with some these with .pdf files of their text attached while there are other references at the base of page with no annotations.

Baum, Gerald R., and Vail, Peter R., (1998), A new foundation for stratigraphy: Geotimes, 43 (11), p. 31-35
[Traces interaction in 70's and 80's of some of major protagonists of sequence stratigraphic paradigm at Exxon Production Research, recording geological principles that were discovered and how some of interpretive disciplins were developed in Alabama coastal plain.]


Boyd, R., Suter, J., and Penland, S., (1989),

Catuneanu,Octavian (2002), Sequence Stratigraphy of clastic systems: concepts, merits, and pitfalls Journal of African Earth Sciences, Volume 35, Issue 1, Pages 1-43
[Careful analysis and a thorough understanding of all controls on sedimentation required when making Sequence stratigraphic interpretations, as opposed to a dogmatic application of rigid theoretical models.]


Catuneanu, O., Willis, A., and Miall, A. D., 1998, Temporal significance of Sequence Boundaries: Sedimentary Geology, v. 121, p. 157-178.
[A very complete discussion of the genetic significance of Stratigraphic Surfaces and how most transgress time and so provide a Diachronous signal rather than indicate an instant in time!]


Campbell Charles V. (1967), Lamina, Laminaset, Bed and Bedset; Sedimentology, 8: 7-26.
[Campbell used shales as horizons to correlate wells and outcrops and not sands, now explains the importance of Bedding character. Eat your heart out Steno]]

Csato, Istvan, and Christopher G.St.C. Kendall, (2002), Modeling of stratigraphic architectural patterns in extensional settings towards a conceptual model, Computers & Geosciences, 28 351–356
[As in Posamentier & Allen establishes that the sediment geometries & the order of a Sequence Boundary are the product of local sediment supply & Base level change].
Embry Ashton, (2002), Transgressive-Regressive (T_-R) Sequence Stratigraphy, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, Vol. 52, Pages 151 - 172
[Very complete review and critque of the origins of definitions of Sequence Stratigraphic Surfaces which provides nommenclature to track transgressive-regressive cyclic changes in Base level with MFS as the major boundary.]
Galloway, W.E., 1989. Genetic stratigraphic Sequences in Basin analysis. I. Architecture and genesis of flooding-surface bounded depositional units. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin 73, 125–142.
[Uses clearly correlatable "mfs" as Boundaries to Sequence with highstand, lowstand and transgressive systems. Correlative Conformity handled but includes subaerial Unconformity within Sequence, and mfs may be Diachronous].
Hinnov, Linda A., (2000), New Perspectives On Orbitally Forced Stratigraphy, Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 28:419–75
[Reviews schemes that track the history of the fill of Basins as they respond to cyclic changes in climate driven by perturbations in the oribit of the earth around the sun.]
Keighley D., Flint S., Howell J. and Moscariello A., (2003), Sequence Stratigraphy in lacustrine Basins: a model for part of the Green River Formation (Eocene), southwest Uinta Basin , Utah, Journal of Sedimentary Research. Vol. 73, No6, p 987-1006
[Lakes have changes in Base level too that may be better constrained than the sea, making the sedimentary responses potentially easier to understand and to model!]
Kendall, Christopher G. St. C., Robert Ehrlich, and Phillip A. Levine, (1995 ), The Enigma of Third Order Sea Level Cycles: a Cosmic Connection? In B. U. Haq, ed., Sequence Stratigraphy and Depositional Response to Eustatic, Tectonic and Climatic forcing; Kluwer Academic Publishers, p.367-376.
[Some of the regular beat to sea level change may be a response to extra-terrestrial collisions. Neither Science or Nature thought the statistics supported this idea!]
Kidwell, S.M., (1988), Reciprocal sedimentation &-correlative Hiatuses in marine-paralic siliciclastis: Miocene outcrop evidence: Geology, v. 16, p. 609-612.
[A classic outcrop analogue of proximal and distal record of relative sea-level change...understand this and how it relates to `Sequence terminology'].
Leckie, D.A., Singh, C., Goodarzi, F., and Wall, J.H., 1990, Organic-rich, radioactive marine shale: a case study of a shallow-water Condensed Section, Cretaceous Shaftesbury Formation, Alberta, Canada: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 60, p. 101-117.
[Characteristization of Condensed Section with relationship to Transgressive Surface].
Loutit, Tom S., and James P. Kennett, (1981), New Zealand and Australian Cenozoic Sedimentary Cycles and Global Sea-Level Changes, Bull Am Assoc.Petroleum Geologists, Vol. 65 Pages 1586 - 1601
[Classic paper which correlates Events & catalogues unconformities with Vail & Hardebol 79 sea level chart, precurser to Haq's chart]
Miall,Andrew D., 2004, Empiricism and model building in Stratigraphy: The historical roots of present-day practices; Stratigraphy, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 3-25
[Elegant review of how Stratigraphy has changed as inductive descriptive geology responds to ever evolving deductive models that explain what we see].
Miall, Andrew D., (1999), In Defense of Facies Classifications and Models, Journal of Sedimentary Research, Section A: Sedimentary Petrology and Processes, Vol. 69, No. 1, Pages 2-5
[Explains why models are imprtant to Stratigraphy and why Hutton favoured their use!].
Miall, Andrew D., (1991), Stratigraphic Sequences and their Chronostratigraphic Correlation, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology Vol. 61 No. 4. Pages 497-505.
[Classic paper identifying the need for care when pushing the Sequence stratigraphic envelope of time! Miall warns on taking care with your geological generalisations].
Mitchum Jr., R. M., (1977), Seismic Stratigraphy and Global Changes of Sea Level: Part 11. Glossary of Terms used in Seismic Stratigraphy: Section 2. Application of Seismic Reflection Configuration to Stratigraphic Interpretation, Memoir 26 Pages 205 - 212
[Classic first time introduction to the terminology of this now burgeoning discipline.]
Pioneer Natural Resources (2002), Phanerozoic Cycles and Events, Global Stratigraphic Chart, Assembled by Lowell Waite et al
[The master of the summary chart takes you away on another great journey through time. A help to relating stratigraphic sections to global Events and great on the wall].

Posamentier, H.W., Allen, G.P., James, D.P. & Tesson, M. (1992) Forced Regressions in a Sequence stratigraphic framework: concepts, examples and exploration significance. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 76, 1687-1709.
[All your students should read this and recognize the signal of Base level change].

Schlager,W., (2004), Fractal nature of stratigraphic Sequences. Geology, 32(3): 185-188.
[Orders in stratigraphic Sequences are subdivisions of convenience not indicators of natural structure. Sequences and Systems Tracts are scale-invariant fractal features on time scales of 103- 106 years. Where do Bedding Planes (or Lamina) the smallest of scales fit in this fractal pattern.]
Schumm, S. A.., (1993), River Response to Baselevel Change: Implications for Sequence Stratigraphy. Journal of Geology, 101: 279-294.
[Noteworthy paper records how complex behaviour of fluvial systems responds, among many factors, not only to baselevel change, but also balances between the influence of tectonically uplifted topography, climate, & Bedrock terrain.]
Schwarzacher, W., (2000), Repetitions and cycles in Stratigraphy. Earth-Science Reviews, 50: 51-75.
[Beds Formation attributed to either random or cyclic Events responding to an oscillating physical system. Beds are elementary steps in a random walk, whose step size (grouping together of Beds) increases until they are related to time, though the accuracy of the scale suffers as the time step increases.]
Thorne, Julian, (1992), "An Analysis of the Implicit Assumptions of the methodology of seismic Sequence Stratigraphy", AAPG Memoir 53: Geology and Geophysics of Continental Margins
[Identifies geological generalisations & assumptions made when interpreting seismic].
Vail,P. R., R. M. Mitchum Jr., and S. Thompson III, (1977), Seismic Stratigraphy and Global Changes of Sea Level: Part 3. Relative Changes of Sea Level from Coastal Onlap: Section 2. Application of Seismic Reflection Configuration to Stratigrapic Interpretation Memoir 26, Pages 63 - 81
[First time sea level variations are related to seismic signature & Coastal Onlap chart]
Vail, P. R. , R. G. Todd,and J. B. Sangree, 1977, . Seismic Stratigraphy and Global Changes of Sea Level: Part 5. Chronostratigraphic Significance of Seismic Reflections: Section 2. Application of Seismic Reflection Configuration to Stratigraphic Interpretation Memoir 26, Pages Pages 99 – 116
[Exposition on "Age" significance seismic reflections, demonstrated using the tie between the Lithostratigraphy determined from wells and seismic sections.Establishes that vertical order of reflectors match stacking order of strata]
Wescott, William A., William N. Krebs, Paul J. Sikora, Paul J. Boucher, and Jeffrey A. Stein, (1998), Modern applications of Biostratigraphy in exploration and production, The Leading Edge, 1204- 1210
[Paleontological data sets used to: (1) develop more precise age dates and time correlations; (2) recognize key stratal Surfaces and intervals (e.g., Maximum Flooding Surfaces, condensed intervals, unconformities, Downlap Surfaces, etc.); (3) determine paleoenvironments and bathymetry; and (4) recognize and predict source rocks. Integrated these tools can be used with geologic and seismic data to develop better correlations and more accurate stratigraphic interpretations within a Sequence stratigraphic context.]
Wheeler Harry E., 1958, Time Stratigraphy, Bulletin of American Association of Petroleum Geologists: v 42, n. 5, p1047-1063.
[The father of the chronostratigraphic chart who conceived the torture you go through to understand the journey through time of the sedimentary section you examine].
Zalasiewicz, Jan,Alan Smith, Patrick Brenchley, Jane Evans, Robert Knox, Nicholas Riley, Andrew Gale , F. John Gregory, Adrian Rushton, Philip Gibbard, Stephen Hesselbo, John Marshall, Michael Oates, Peter Rawson, Nigel Trewin, (2004), Simplifying the Stratigraphy of time, Geology; v. 32; no. 1; p. 1–4;
[Ends distinction between time-rock units of Chronostratigraphy and geologic time units of geochronology. intervals of geologic time within rock strata. Proposes ‘‘Chronostratigraphy,'' and allowing ‘‘geochronology'' to revert to numerical age dating. Makes the little-used formal term ‘‘geochronometry'' redundant, with ‘‘eonothem,'' ‘‘erathem,'' ‘‘system,'' ‘‘series,'' and ‘‘stage'' becoming redundant too, in favor of ‘‘eon,'' ‘‘era,'' ‘‘period,'' ‘‘epoch'' and ‘‘age.'' Geologic time units qualified by ‘‘early'' and ‘‘late,'' but not by ‘‘lower'' and ‘‘upper.'']

References with no annotation

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Baum, G.R., and P.R. Vail, 1988,

Sequence Stratigraphic concepts applied to Paleogene outcrops, Gulf and Atlantic Basins: in C. K. Wilgus, B. K. Hastings, H. Posamentier, J. Van Wagoner, C. A. Ross, and C. G. St. C. Kendall, (eds.), Sea-Level changes: an integrated approach, Soc. Econ. Paleon. and Min. Special Publication No. 42, p. 309-327.
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