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Abstract:

Techniques that can be used to determine the relative magnitude of eustatic excursions include the measurement of: (a) the amount of sedimentary onlap onto the continental margins; (b) the thickness of marine sedimentary cycles and the elevation and distance between indicators of old strandlines; (c) the perturbations on individual thermo-tectonic subsidence curves and stacked crustal subsidence curves; (d) the variations in deep-ocean oxygen isotopes found in sediments; and (e) the size of variables, such as rates of tectonic movement, sediment accumulation, and eustatic changes, used in graphical and numerical simulations of basin fill that “invert” the problem. To date, a combination of some or all of these methods can be used to construct relative (tectono/eustatic) sea-level curves; however, these are not unique solutions to absolute eustatic variations. Each method assumes some behavior for two of the three underlying processes (tectonic movement of the basement, sedimentary accumulation, and eustasy), and then determines the third process relative to the assumed model behavior of the other two. The sense of this result is confirmed by mathematical models which suggest that only the sum of tectonic basement subsidence and sea-level variations can be obtained.

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