Sequence stratigraphy of the T factory
Depositional systems resemble newspapers that all report on the events of the day but each with a different editorial bias. It behooves the reader to learn about the editorial bias of his paper. Similarly, the geologist ought to know about the bias of depositional systems in recording sea level and other environmental factors.
The three carbonate factories each have their own bias in recording sequence-stratigraphic events and all three differ to varying degrees from the siliciclastic standard model. This is not to say, however, that sequence stratigraphy does not apply to these systems. On the contrary, comparative sedimentology of depositional systems clearly shows that the basic features of the standard model are shared by all depositional systems, showing once again the power of sequence stratigraphy as a unifying concept.
In this chapter, we base our discussion of carbonate sequence stratigraphy primarily on the deposits of the T factory. They are volumetrically dominant in the geologic record and their sequence stratigraphy is best known. The sequence stratigraphy of the C and M factories is developed in chapter 8 by comparison with the T factory and the standard model.
Figures & Tables
Sedimentology and stratigraphy are neighbors yet distinctly separate entities within the earth sciences. Sedimentology searches for the common traits of sedimentary rocks regardless of age as it reconstructs environments and processes of deposition and erosion from the sediment record. Stratigraphy, by contrast, concentrates on changes with time, on measuring time and correlating coeval events. Sequence stratigraphy straddles the boundary between the two fields. This book, dedicated to carbonate rocks, approaches sequence stratigraphy from its sedimentologic background. This book attempts to communicate by combining different specialities and different lines of reasoning, and by searching for principles underlying the bewildering diversity of carbonate rocks. It provides enough general background, in introductory chapters and appendices, to be easily digestible for sedimentologists and stratigraphers as well as earth scientists at large.