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TitleStratigraphy, A Modern Synthesis (a.D. Miall, 2016)
TagsStratigraphy Geology Sedimentary Rock Sedimentology Sedimentary Basin
File Size47.3 MB
Total Pages464
Table of Contents
Revision History
1 The Scope of Modern Stratigraphy
	1.1ƒThe Importance of Stratigraphy
	1.2ƒThe Evolution of ``Sophisticated Stratigraphy''
		1.2.1 Beginnings (Nineteenth Century)
		1.2.2 Cyclic Sedimentation (1932--1968)
		1.2.3 Basin Analysis and the Big Picture (1948--1977)
		1.2.4 The Meaning of ``Facies'' (1949--1973)
		1.2.5 Fluid Hydraulics and Sedimentary Structures (1953--1976)
		1.2.6 Early Studies of Modern Environments (1954--1972)
		1.2.7 Facies Model Concept (1959--2010)
		1.2.8 The Impact of the Plate-Tectonics Revolution on Basin Studies (1959--1988)
		1.2.9 Unconformities and the Issue of Time in Stratigraphy (1909--1970)
		1.2.10 Sequences and Seismic Stratigraphy (1963--1977)
		1.2.11 Architectural Elements: Sedimentology in Two and Three Dimensions (1983--1990)
		1.2.12 Sequence Stratigraphy (1986--1990)
		1.2.13 Reconciling Facies Models with Sequence Stratigraphy (1990)
		1.2.14 The Full Flowering of Modern Sequence-Stratigraphic Methods
		1.2.15 Stratigraphy: The Modern Synthesis
	1.3ƒTime in Stratigraphy
	1.4ƒTypes of Project and Data Problems
		1.4.1 Regional Surface Stratigraphic Mapping Project
		1.4.2 Local Stratigraphic-Sedimentologic Mapping Project
		1.4.3 Regional Subsurface Mapping Project
		1.4.4 Local Subsurface Mapping Project
	1.5ƒSummary of Research and Reporting Procedures
2 The Stratigraphic-Sedimentologic Data Base
	2.2ƒDescribing Surface Stratigraphic Sections
		2.2.1 Methods of Measuring and Recording the Data Vertical Stratigraphic Sections The Construction of Lateral Profiles
		2.2.2 Types of Field Observation Subdivision of the Section into Descriptive Units Lithology and Grain Size Porosity Color Bedding Inorganic Sedimentary Structures Sedimentary Structures Produced by Hydrodynamic Erosion of the Bed Liquefaction, Load, and Fluid Loss Structures Fossils Biogenic Sedimentary Structures
		2.2.3 Sampling Plan Illustrative Samples Petrographic Samples Biostratigraphic Samples
		2.2.4 Plotting the Section
	2.3ƒDescribing Subsurface Stratigraphic Sections
		2.3.1 Methods of Measuring and Recording the Data Examination of Well Cuttings Examination of Core
		2.3.2 Types of Cutting and Core Observation Subdivision of the Section into Descriptive Units Lithology and Grain Size Porosity Color Bedding Sedimentary Structures Fossils Biogenic Sedimentary Structures
		2.3.3 Sampling Plan
		2.3.4 Plotting the Section
	2.4ƒPetrophysical Logs
		2.4.1 Gamma Ray Log (GR)
		2.4.2 Spontaneous Potential Log (SP)
		2.4.3 Resistivity Logs
		2.4.4 Sonic Log
		2.4.5 Formation Density Log
		2.4.6 Neutron Log
		2.4.7 Crossplots
		2.4.8 Integrating Cores and Wireline Logs
3 Facies Analysis
	3.2ƒThe Meaning of Facies
	3.3ƒRecognition and Definition of Facies Types
		3.3.1 Philosophy and Methods
		3.3.2 Field Examples of Facies Schemes
		3.3.3 Establishing a Facies Scheme
		3.3.4 Facies Architecture
	3.4ƒFacies Associations and Models
		3.4.1 The Association and Ordering of Facies
		3.4.2 The Theory of Facies Models
		3.4.3 The Present as the Key to the Past, and Vice Versa
		3.4.4 To Classify and Codify, or Not?
		3.4.5 Facies Analysis and Sequence Stratigraphy
	3.5ƒReview of Environmental Criteria
		3.5.1 Grain Size and Texture
		3.5.2 Petrology
		3.5.3 Bedding
		3.5.4 Hydrodynamic Sedimentary Structures The Flow-Regime Concept Bedform Preservation Bedforms and Crossbedding in Gravels Structures Formed by Reversing (Tidal) Currents Structures Formed by Oscillating Currents (Waves) Storm Sedimentation and Geostrophic Flow Eolian Bedforms
		3.5.5 Sediment Gravity Flows Debris Flow Grain-Flow Liquified/Fluidized Flow Turbidity Current
		3.5.6 Sedimentary Structures Produced by Hydrodynamic Erosion of the Bed
		3.5.7 Liquefaction, Load and Fluid Loss Structures
		3.5.8 Paleoecology of Body Fossils
		3.5.9 Ichnology
		3.5.10 Vertical Profiles
		3.5.11 Architectural Elements and Bounding Surfaces Architectural Scale and Bounding Surface Hierarchies Architectural Elements
	3.6ƒConclusions and Scale Considerations
4 Facies Models
	4.2ƒClastic Environments
		4.2.1 Fluvial Environments
		4.2.2 Eolian Environments
		4.2.3 Lacustrine Environments
		4.2.4 Glacial Environments
		4.2.5 Coastal Wave- and Tide-Dominated Environments
		4.2.6 Deltas
		4.2.7 Estuaries
		4.2.8 Continental Shelf Environment
		4.2.9 Continental Slope and Deep Basin Environment
	4.3ƒCarbonate Environments
		4.3.1 Conditions of Carbonate Sedimentation
		4.3.2 Platforms and Reefs
		4.3.3 Tidal Sedimentation
		4.3.4 Carbonate Slopes
5 Sequence Stratigraphy
	5.2ƒElements of the Model
		5.2.1 Accommodation and Supply
		5.2.2 Stratigraphic Architecture
		5.2.3 Depositional Systems and Systems Tracts
	5.3ƒSequence Models in Clastic and Carbonate Settings
		5.3.1 Marine Clastic Depositional Systems and Systems Tracts
		5.3.2 Nonmarine Depositional Systems
		5.3.3 Carbonate Depositional Systems Breaks in Sedimentation in Carbonate Environments Platform Carbonates: Catch-up Versus Keep-up
6 Basin Mapping Methods
	6.2ƒStratigraphic Mapping with Petrophysical Logs
		6.2.1 Log Shape and Electrofacies
		6.2.2 Examples of Stratigraphic Reconstructions
		6.2.3 Problems and Solutions
	6.3ƒSeismic Stratigraphy
		6.3.1 The Nature of the Seismic Record
		6.3.2 Constructing Regional Stratigraphies
		6.3.3 Seismic Facies
		6.3.4 Seismic Geomorphology
	6.4ƒDirectional Drilling and Geosteering
	6.5ƒOlder Methods: Isopleth Contouring
	6.6ƒMapping on the Basis of Detrital Composition
		6.6.1 Clastic Petrofacies
		6.6.2 Provenance Studies Using Detrital Zircons
		6.6.3 Chemostratigraphy
	6.7ƒPaleocurrent Analysis
		6.7.1 Introduction
		6.7.2 Types of Paleocurrent Indicators
		6.7.3 Data Collection and Processing
		6.7.4 The Bedform Hierarchy
		6.7.5 Environment and Paleoslope Interpretations
7 Stratigraphy: The Modern Synthesis
	7.2ƒTypes of Stratigraphic Unit
	7.3ƒThe Six Steps Involved in Dating and Correlation
		7.4.1 Types of Lithostratigraphic Units and Their Definition
		7.4.2 The Names of Lithostratigraphic Units
		7.5.1 The Nature of the Biostratigraphic Record
		7.5.2 Biochronology: Zones and Datums
		7.5.3 Diachroneity of the Biostratigraphic Record
		7.5.4 Quantitative Methods in Biochronology
	7.6ƒUnconformity-Bounded Units
	7.7ƒThe Development of Formal Definitions for Sequence Stratigraphy
	7.8ƒChronostratigraphy and Geochronometry
		7.8.1 The Emergence of Modern Methods
		7.8.2 Determining the Numerical (``Absolute'') Age of a Stratigraphic Horizon
		7.8.3 Stages and Boundaries
		7.8.4 Event Stratigraphy
		7.8.5 Absolute Ages: Their Accuracy and Precision
		7.8.6 The Current State of the Global Stratigraphic Sections and Points (GSSP) Concept, and Standardization of the Chronostratigraphic Scale
		7.8.7 Cyclostratigraphy and Astrochronology
8 The Future of Time
	8.2ƒWhere We Are Now and How We Got Here
	8.3ƒA Natural Hierarchy of Sedimentary Processes
	8.4ƒSedimentation Rates
	8.5ƒThe Fractal-Like Character of Sedimentary Accumulation
	8.6ƒApparent Anomalies of High Sedimentation Rate Versus Slow Rate of Accommodation Generation
	8.7ƒAccommodation and Preservation
		8.7.1 Preservation at a Scale of Seconds to Months
		8.7.2 Preservation at a Scale of Years to Thousands of Years
		8.7.3 Preservation at the Scale of Tens of Thousands to Hundreds of Thousands of Years
		8.7.4 Preservation at the Scale of Millions of Years
	8.8ƒImplications of Missing Time for Modern Stratigraphic Methods
		8.8.1 Sequence Stratigraphy
		8.8.2 Implications for Stratigraphic Continuity, the Concept of Correlation and the Principal of the GSSP
		8.8.3 Discussion
	8.9ƒAn Example of the Evaluation of Missing Time: The Mesaverde Group of the Book Cliffs, Utah
		8.9.1 Chronostratigraphy of the Mesaverde Group
		8.9.2 Chronostratigraphy of the Spring Canyon and Aberdeen Members
		8.9.3 The Representation of Time in a Coastal Clastic Succession
		8.9.4 Sequence Stratigraphy of the Nonmarine Facies of the Blackhawk Formation and Castlegate Sandstone
		8.9.5 The Representation of Time in a Fluvial Succession
		8.9.6 Conclusions
	8.10ƒThe Future of Conventional Chronostratigraphy
		8.10.1 Current Examples of Outstanding Work
		8.10.2 The Use of Wheeler Diagrams
		8.10.3 Improving Accuracy and Precision
	8.11ƒHigh-Resolution Event Stratigraphy, Cyclostratigraphy and Astrochronology
Author Index
Subject Index
Document Text Contents
Page 1


Andrew D. Miall

A Modern Synthesis

Page 2

Stratigraphy: A Modern Synthesis

Page 232

Fig. 5.5 A modern version of Barrell’s diagram (Fig. 1.3), showing
the relationship between accommodation changes and sedimentation.
The “relative sea-level curve” is a composite of three “eustatic”
sea-level curves (although this could include other, non-eustatic
mechanisms, as discussed by Miall 2010), integrated with a smooth

subsidence curve. The coloured areas of the composite curve indicate
intervals of time when accommodation is being generated, and
parasequences are deposited. Examples of parasequences are indicated
by the arrows (Van Wagoner et al. 1990). AAPG © 1990, reprinted by
permission of the AAPG whose permission is required for further use

5.2 Elements of the Model 221

Page 233

complex offlapping stratigraphy, of which the complex
sigmoid-oblique clinoform pattern in Fig. 5.8 is a simple
example. This diagram illustrates periods of sea-level
still-stand, with the development of truncated topsets (to-
plap) alternating with periods of sea-level rise (or more rapid
basin subsidence), which allowed the lip of the prograding
sequence to build upward as well as outward. Mitchum et al.
(1977a) described the hummocky clinoform pattern as
consisting of “irregular discontinuous subparallel reflection
segments forming a practically random hummocky pattern
marked by nonsystematic reflection terminations and splits.
Relief on the hummocks typically is low, approaching the
limits of seismic resolution. The reflection pattern is generally
interpreted as strata forming small, interfingering clinoform
lobes building into shallow water,” such as the upbuilding or
offlapping lobes of a delta undergoing distributary switching.
Submarine fans may show the same hummocky reflections.
Shingled clinoform patterns typically reflect offlapping
sediment bodies on a continental shelf.

Chaotic reflections may reflect slumped or contorted
sediment masses or those with abundant channels or
cut-and-fill structures, such as submarine fan systems. Many
carbonate reefs also yield chaotic reflections. Disrupted
reflections are usually caused by faults. Lenticular patterns
are likely to be most common in sections oriented perpen-
dicular to depositional dip. They represent the depositional
lobes of deltas or submarine fans.

A marine flooding surface is a surface that separates
older from younger strata, across which there is evidence of
an abrupt increase in water depth. These surfaces are typi-
cally prominent and readily recognizable and mappable in
the stratigraphic record. Each of the heavy, arrowed lines
within the lower, retrogradational part of the sequence
shown in Fig. 5.7 are marine flooding surfaces, as are the
heavy lines in Fig. 5.9b. The maximum flooding surface
records the maximum extent of marine drowning, and sep-
arates transgressive units below from regressive units above
(the dashed line extending obliquely across the centre of the
cross-section in Fig. 5.7 is a maximum flooding surface). It
commonly is a surface of considerable regional stratigraphic
prominence and significance. It may be marked by a wide-
spread shale, or by a condensed section, indicating slow
sedimentation at a time of sediment starvation on the con-
tinental shelf (Loutit et al. 1988), and may correspond to a
downlap surface, as noted above. The prominence of these
surfaces led Galloway (1989) to propose that sequences be
defined by the maximum flooding surface rather than the
subaerial erosion surface. We discuss this, and other alter-
native concepts, in Sect. 7.7.

Sequences may consist of stacked facies successions, each
of which shows a gradual upward change in facies character,
indicating a progressive shift in local depositional environ-
ments. The small packages of strata contained between the
heavy lines in Fig. 5.9a are examples of these component
packages of strata. Van Wagoner et al. (1987) erected the
term parasequence to encompass “a relatively conformable
succession of genetically related beds or bedsets bounded by
marine flooding surfaces and their correlative surfaces…
Parasequences are progradational and therefore the beds
within parasequences shoal upward.” As Walker (1992)
pointed out, “parasequences and facies successions… are
essentially the same thing, except that the concept of facies
succession is broader.” However, other types of facies suc-
cession occur within sequences (e.g., channel-fill
fining-upward successions), and the term parasequence is
therefore unnecessarily restrictive. Many such successions
are generated by autogenic processes, such as delta-lobe
switching, and channel migration, that have nothing to do
with sequence controls, and to include them in a term that has
the word “sequence” within it may be misleading. Walker
(1992) recommended that the term parasequence not be used.
Catuneanu (2006, pp. 243–245) pointed out numerous
problems with the concept of the parasequence, including the
imprecise meaning of the term “flooding surface” (which it is
now recognized, may have several different meanings) and
the potential confusion with surfaces generated by autogenic
processes. He recommended using the term only in the
context of progradational units in coastal settings. I suggest

Fig. 5.7 A later diagram of sequence architecture (from Vail 1987),
which incorporates the concept of initial onlap followed by prograda-
tion across a downlap surface. AAPG © 1987, reprinted by permission
of the AAPG whose permission is required for further use

Fig. 5.6 Sequence architecture, showing common characteristics of
“seismic reflection terminations” (redrawn from Vail et al. 1977)

222 5 Sequence Stratigraphy

Page 463

Spit, 175
Sponge spicules, 101
Spontaneous potential log, 67
Spring tide, 110, 112
Stacking, seismic traces, 256
Stacking pattern, 135
Stage, 343

definition, 12
Stage concept, 351
Stage framework, 315
Standard facies belts, 100
Standard Reference Section, 331, 404, 414
Standing waves, 105, 106
Starvation, sediment, 237
Storey, 146
Storm channels, 176
Storm cycle, 183
Storm deposit, 79, 103
Storm-dominated environment, 173, 183
Storm erosion, 174
Storms, 17
Storm sedimentation, 7
Straight river, 165
Strandplain-barrier systems, 174
Stratigraphic completeness, 330, 377, 383, 385, 393
Stratigraphic events, 314
Stratigraphic hierarchies, 376
Stratigraphic mapping, with seismic-reflection data, 263
Stratigraphic mesoscale, 387
Stratigraphic methods, 17
Stratigraphic practices, origin of, 311
Stratigraphic record, continuity of, 416
Stratigraphic sequences. See Sequence stratigraphy
Stratigraphic terminations, 216, 217
Stratigraphy, importance of, 1
Stratotype, 319
Striated pavements, 71
Strontium isotope stratigraphy, 350, 404
Subaerial erosion, 92
Subaerial erosion surface, 16, 228, 314, 337, 341, 342, 373
Subaerial unconformity, 216
Subage, 343
Subgroup, 319
Submarine canyons, 9, 46, 185, 226, 237
Submarine cementation, 138
Submarine currents, 240
Submarine erosion, 216, 239
Submarine fan, 49, 123, 145, 185, 222, 226, 228, 230, 232, 237, 268

model, 9
paleocurrent pattern, 303
sequence stratigraphy of, 337
stratal slice of, 281
subdivision of, 273, 275

Submarine landslides, 226
Sub-salt mapping, 266
Substage, 343
Subsurface sections, 60
Succession of faunas, 327
Sulphate environments, 138
Summaries of the environment, 162
Sun-compass, use of, 298
Super bounding surface. See Super surfaces
Supercontinents, 18
Supergroup, 319
Supersurface, 144, 148, 166, 236
Supply, relationship to accommodation, 217

Supratidal flats, 138
Surface of maximum regression, 342
Sutton Stone, 374
Swash zone, 112
Synaeresis structures, 50, 123
Synchrony, 327
Syndepositional faults, 49
Syndepositional tectonism, 218
Synthem, 334
Synthetic chemical logs, 297
Synthetic seismogram, 255, 261
System, 343

definition, 12
Systems tract concept, 5, 15
Systems tract, definition of, 224
Systems tracts, 216

Tadpole plots, 298
Taphofacies, 126
Taphonomy, 124, 128
Tectonic cyclothems, 388
Teepee structures, 50
Terrace formation, 16
Terraces, fluvial, 235
Tethyan Ocean, 93
Tethyan realm, 324, 325
Texas coastal plain, 7
Theoretical cycle, 3
Thickening upward, 40, 134, 135
Thickness domain, 420
Thickness-to-time transformation, 421
Thin bed resolution, 256
Thinning upward, 134
Thixotropy, 48, 123
Three-dimensional bedforms, 105
Three-dimensional seismic-reflection method, 23, 78, 147, 262
Threshold triggers, 226
Tidal bedding, 103, 110, 112
Tidal bedforms, 110, 175
Tidal bundle, 146
Tidal-creek profile, 136
Tidal current ridges, 175
Tidal currents, 104, 110, 183
Tidal deltas, 175
Tidal environments, 110
Tidal flats, 110, 175
Tidal influence, 182, 230
Tidal-inlet, migration rate, 380
Tidal inlets, 174
Tidal profile, carbonate, 137
Tidal sand ridges, 183
Tidal sand waves, 378
Tide dominated, 183
Till, 98, 170
Time domain, 391
Time/rock distinction, 343, 358
Time scale, 145
Time scale of observation, 91
Time series analysis, 420
Time-velocity asymmetry, 302
Tongue, 318, 319
Tool markings, 48
Toplap, 219
Topless stage, 344

Subject Index 453

Page 464

Trace-elements, detrital, 291
Trace fossils, 54, 132. See also Ichnology
Traction carpet, 17, 41
Transformational evolution, 322
Transgression, 92, 237, 240, 336
Transgressive environment, 173, 174
Transgressive surface, 230, 337
Transgressive systems tract, 224, 230, 336
Transverse dunes, eolian, 114
Tree leaf shape, 128
Trimodal paleocurrents, 301, 302
Trinidad, continental margin of, 271
Trough crossbedding, 6, 42, 47, 105, 108, 293
T-R sequence, 335, 337, 338, 340
TST. See Transgressive systems tract
Tsunamis, 131
Tuning, 359, 364, 418
Turbidite, 6, 124
Turbidite frequency, 379
Turbidite mind set, 79
Turbidite systems, 16, 145, 185, 237. See also submarine fan
Turbidity current, 6, 41, 48, 116, 118, 121–123, 131, 226
Turbulence, 105
Two-dimensional bedforms, 105
Two-way travel time, 256
Types of stratigraphic unit, 313
Type-1 unconformity, 337
Type-2 unconformity, 337


characteristics of, 217
diachronous, 217
history of, 11
meaning of, 373

Unconformity-bounded unit, 12, 13, 16, 216, 314, 334. See also

Undaform, 4
Undathem, 225
Unidirectional traction current, 43
Uniformitarianism, 3–5, 93, 375, 391

theory of, 425
Unimodal currents, 7, 104, 111
Unimodal paleocurrents, 301
Uninvaded zones, 68
Unroofing history, 282
Unwashed cuttings, 60
Upper flat-bed, 105
Upstream controls, 233
Upward coarsening, 67, 180
Upward-fining, 67
U-Th radiometric methods, 17

Valley fill, 16, 230
Valley incision, 16, 235
Variance, paleocurrent, 143

Velocity pull-up, 256
Velocity resolution, 21
Ventura Basin, 116
Vertical aggradation, carbonate, 240
Vertical profile, 4, 14, 122, 134, 141, 216
Vertical seismic profiling, 261, 262
Vertical stratigraphic sections, 19, 86
Viscosity, 116
Volcaniclastic sediment, 100
VSP. See Vertical seismic profiling

Wackstone, 99
Walther’s law, 3–5, 87, 134, 141, 371, 386–388
Wanganui Basin, 361, 380, 381, 395
Washed cuttings, 60
Washed-out dunes, 105
Washover fans, 176
Water chemistry, 138
Water escape features, 49, 51, 123
Wave, 173
Wave base, 138
Wave cross-lamination, 187
Wave-cut platform, 175
Wave-formed structures, 111
Wave-ripple cross-lamination, 42, 104, 112
Wavy bedding, 104
Weathering characteristics, 40
Weathering profile, 60
Well logging, 60
Well spacing, 251
Western Boundary Undercurrent, 218
Western Interior Seaway, 230, 326
Wheeler diagram, 254, 372, 410, 412, 414

automated, 412, 415
Wheeler plot/diagram, 12
Whole-rock geochemistry, detrital, 296
Wiggle trace, 255
Wind deflation, 47
Wind-ripples, 114, 118
Wireline log, 61 See also petrophysical log
Workflow, 24

XES. See eXperimental EarthScape Facility
X-radiography, 103

100-year flood, 146, 424

Zig-zag facies line, 321
Zircon, provenance of, 288
Zone, definition, 12
Zoophycos ichnofacies, 134

454 Subject Index

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