External Controls on Deep-Water Depositional Systems
The principal objective of the meeting from which this set of papers arose was to gain an overview of the current state of knowledge of the roles and interplays of external controls on deposition in deep marine environments. By external controls we mean allocyclic or allogenic factors, i.e., those that are unrelated to the self-organization of the depositional system (autocyclic or autogenic); principal among these are climate, sea level, sediment supply, and tectonics. One of the big questions that the meeting sought to address concerned the comparability of the recent high-frequency, high-resolution record with the older, generally lower-frequency stratigraphic record of “deep time”; to what extent are the apparent differences a function of resolution, or of comparisons between a glacial and a nonglacial Earth? In fact, as the papers in this volume illustrate, the variability between individual systems, even in Late Glacial time, and the paucity of constraints on older systems makes these questions difficult to answer, but some useful conclusions can be drawn. The papers presented at the meeting were organized into themes that included: overviews of glacial sea-level change, and of climate modeling; external controls on large river-fed submarine fans, including the effects of climate and sea level on the fluvial system itself; influences of climate, sea level, and tectonics on a range of smaller modern systems; deep marine processes; the outcrop record of the pre-Pleistocene Earth; the subsurface record of the pre-Pleistocene Earth; and syntheses. The organization of the volume largely reflects this structure.
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