The geologic history of each sedimentary basin may be subdivided into cycles using three parameters: basin-forming tectonics, depositional sequences, and basin-modifying tectonics. Basins may be simple, with one or two tectonic/sedimentary cycles, or they may be complex polyhistory basins with many different cycles and events. There are eight simple cycle types in this classification, which cover continental, continental-margin, and oceanic areas. The eight basic cycle types, their depositional fills, and tectonic modifiers have been given letter and number symbols so that the specific geologic history of each basin may be written as a formula. These formulas may then be compared and similarities or differences between basins noted.--Modified journal abstract.

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