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Abstract

Concepts of seismic and sequence stratigraphy as outlined in publications since 1977 made a substantial impact on sedimentary geology. The notion that changes in relative sea level shape sediment in predictable packages across the planet was intuitively attractive to many sedimentologists and stratigraphers. The initial stratigraphic record of Mesozoic and Cenozoic depositional sequences, laid down in response to changes in relative sea level, published in Science in 1987 was greeted with great, albeit mixed, interest. The concept of sequence stratigraphy received much acclaim whereas the chronostratigraphic record of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sequences suffered from a perceived absence of biostratigraphic and outcrop documentation. The Mesozoic and Cenozoic Sequence Stratigraphy of European Basins project, which began officially with an international meeting in Dijon France in 1992, was designed to address the lack of documentation by inviting sedimentologists and stratigraphers to collectively build a documented chronostratigraphic and outcrop record of depositional sequences calibrated across a large number of basins in a geographically restricted area. The choice of Europe as a backdrop to this calibration and documentation effort is rooted in the philosophy that the cumulative stratigraphic data base for European Basins, which have been studied for over hundred years and are home to most Mesozoic and Cenozoic stage stratotypes, is uniquely suited for such a calibration project. European basins offer a variety of climatic provinces and their depositional systems range from siliciclastic systems in the northern part of the study area to carbonate dominated systems in the tethyan area. Sequence interpretations for a large number of European basins were presented at poster sessions in Dijon. Papers in this volume, many of them based on the Dijon posters, form an integral part of the sequence documentation presented here.

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