A unique technique of coding, storing, and plotting descriptive stratigraphic data uses a series of FORTRAN programs. The basis for the technique is a search-and-store algorithm that may be modified to produce a time-series sequence of lithologic or environmental maps. Coded data are displayed as a 2-dimensional output array in the form of an inked, line-drawn planimetric view of the research area. User-specified intervals of the range of data are represented by symbology, color code, or literal string. The final product is a time series of computer-constructed surfaces representing the geologic evolution of a particular area. These surfaces may emphasize environments of deposition, sediment lithology, or any other stratigraphically derived information (porosity, permeability, consolidation, mineralogy, biostratigraphy geochemistry).
Stratigraphic data are stored as an alphanumeric code. Data are presumed to have been derived from cores or some similar means of vertical sequence control. A single core occupies one line of a data file with an operating field width of 132 columns. Columns 1-9 and 122-132 contain location and identification data. The remaining locations (columns 10-121) consist of repeating 14-column groups. Each group contains codes describing a single stratigraphic unit. Thus, each line of the data file may describe a sequence of 8 stratigraphic units.
This technique was used to display the development of the Bay and Atlantic coasts of Delaware from 10,000 b.p. to present. A series of maps has been produced that details the geomorphology of the coast at regular chronologic intervals. This allows a detailed analysis of the evolution of a complex region as a response to known Holocene conditions of rising sea level.