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Abstract

A sequence stratigraphic analysis of subsurface data from the Paleogene strata of the central North Sea has documented a stratigraphic framework of 18–20 "third-order" depositional sequences nested within 5 "second-order" major regression/transgression facies (R/TF) cycles. Additional sequences have been documented through correlation of the subsurface deposits to outcrop sections of northwest Europe. This paper will document only those sequences observable in the subsurface data and characterize these sequences within a low and high order framework. The order of a cycle is based on observations concerning its constituents and its impact on the depositional systems of the basin, not strictly on its duration. Integration of the composite standard biostratigraphic method enabled the construction of a consistent chronostratigraphy based on the correlation of hiatal intervals identified with graphic correlation data terraces. An ideal relationship of graphic correlation terraces within a sequence stratigraphic model is diagrammed, providing the theoretical basis for the correlations presented. A depositional model is also proposed as a variant of the classic Vail model, considering the effect of depositional profile and sediment supply in the preservation and distribution of systems tracts. Recent revisions in central North Sea lithostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy provide an opportunity for comparison between different methods and data resolutions.

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