Synthetic stratigraphic cross sections are derived mathematically for a variety of simple conditions. The variables considered in the mathematical model include variations in sea level, rate of tectonic subsidence, rate of sedimentation, and rate of erosion. Derived stratigraphic relationships include unconformities, correlative conformities and disconformities, coastal onlap, coastal toplap, erosional truncation, pinch-out, and sigmoidal progradational clinoforms. An important conclusion is that the rate of erosion is a dominant variable in determining the type of stratigraphic section observed. The proposed approach may provide the basis for either a forward or inverse modeling of seismic stratigraphic sections.