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Abstract

A stratigraphic simulator called phil. (Process- and History- Integrated Layers) documented the history of a seismically defined cross section through the Baltimore Canyon Trough, offshore New Jersey. This cross section helps to constrain a sea level curve from 30 Ma to the present. The interval from 18 to 11 Ma is especially well defined and is considered a type section for this time interval.

The stratigraphy was modeled with empirically derived algorithms that produced a resulting distribution of sediment that were compared at 2980 points along depth converted horizons. The result deviated by an average of 36 m from the observed depths and explains 90.6% of the total variation in depth. This was accomplished by introducing a predominantly siliciclastic sediment supply that was distributed by a mixture of traction and suspension sedimentation processes that varied through time. The traction and suspension mixture varied as the distance to the fluvial source varied with respect to the section.

Although the Haq et al. (1988) curve served as a good initial sea level history, it proved to have problems when it was applied to reproducing a stratigraphic record for this section, as well as other sections of equivalent age from North America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. The long-term trends tended to be highly over exaggerated. phtl allowed us to produce a new curve that significantly improves the match between the stratigraphy and the model.

phil simulation results allow us to extend the understanding of this cross section by predicting lithofacies distributions and associated physical properties, and systems tract boundaries. The resulting physical properties were used as input to a seismic model. Simulation provides values for tectonic subsidence and sedimentation supply rates, carbonate production rates, definition of stability conditions, erosion rates, and the development of water level history that integrates all the active processes. Simulation also is an important tool for visualizing the development of structural and stratigraphic features.

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