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This volume grew out of an AAPG-sponsored field trip led by an Exxon team—J.C. Van Wagoner, C.R. Jones, D.C. Jennette—and Dag Nummedal from Louisiana State University. The purpose of the trip was to provide a venue on the outcrop for discussing rapidly evolving opinions and points of view about sequence stratigraphy concepts and applications. These different opinions have been captured in the papers in this volume. Although foreland basin setting is a common theme for all of the papers, the ideas and observations presented in this volume have a broader significance and application to many other basin types.

The purposes of this introduction to the volume are to provide a historical perspective to the terminology used in the papers, to summarize the papers for the reader’s benefit, and to provide a glossary for sequence stratigraphy terminology to facilitate communication. As sequence stratigraphy has evolved, terminology has grown more complex and confusing. This is in part because of an early dichotomy embedded in seismic stratigraphy (see Mitchum et al, 1977). The following section reviews the evolution of the terms and contrasts several different ways of looking at sequences and systems tracts.

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