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Abstract:

Sequence-stratigraphic concepts are used to identify genetically related strata and their bounding regional unconformities, or their correlative conformities, in seismic, well-log, and outcrop data. Documentation and age dating of these features in marine outcrops in different parts of the world have led to a new generation of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sea-level cycle charts with greater event resolution than that obtainable from seismic data alone. The cycles of sea-level change, interpreted from the rock record, are tied to an integrated chronostratigraphy that combines state-of-the-art geochronologic, magnetostratigraphic and biostratigraphic data. In this article we discuss the reasoning behind integrated chronostratigraphy and list the sources of data used to establish this framework. Once this framework has been constructed, the depositional sequences from sections around the world, interpreted as having been formed in response to sea-level fluctuations, can be tied into the chronostratigraphy.

Four cycle charts summarizing the chronostratigraphy, coastal-onlap patterns, and sea-level curves for the Cenozoic, Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic are presented. A large-scale composite-cycle chart for the Mesozoic and Cenozoic is also included (in pocket). The relative magnitudes of sea-level falls, interpreted from sequence boundaries, are classified as major, medium, and minor, as are the condensed sections associated with the intervals of sediment starvation on the shelf and slope during the phase of maximum shelf flooding during each cycle. Generally, only the sequence boundaries produced by major and some medium-scale sea-level falls can be recognized at the level of seismic stratigraphic resolution; detailed well-log and/or outcrop studies are usually necessary to resolve the minor sequences.

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