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Abstract

In this section we present four case history studies of shallow marine sand bodies to illustrate how sedimentary structures and their sequences can be used to interpret processes within a broad depositional environment for which there are few well-established models, based either on modern or ancient sediments. And, knowing that a number of processes operate in present-day shallow marine waters to create a complex, time-variable hydraulic regime, there probably cannot be anything like “THE” shallow marine sedimentation model. However, several appropriate shallow marine models can be suggested.

Compared to models discussed previously, relatively few offshore shallow marine models are described in the geological literature. No doubt the lack of knowledge of modern shallow marine sand bodies and their internal structures contribute to this deficiency. This opinion does not ignore the growing body of oceanographic data on modern shallow marine sediments (see Stanley and Swift, 1974). But what modern sediment studies commonly lack, particularly those in shallow marine or shelf settings is vertical control. For example, though morphological forms of modern equilibrium shelf sand bodies are continually being discovered, their internal structures are practically unknown. But what is so lacking from the modern is abundantly supplied by the ancient. Thus our knowledge of internal structure and sequence of shallow marine bodies comes from the ancient, unlike fluvial and shoreline environments where modern sediment studies have contributed significantly.

Is a thoroughly known modern model absolutely necessary to “validate” a depositional environment interpretation made of an ancient sedimentary rock sequence? We

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