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Shallow water carbonates rarely ever accumulate in a uniform, steady fashion. Rather, the record shows a hierarchy of rhythms on time scales of thousands to hundreds of millions of years. These rhythms are punctuated by singular events and overprinted by the unidirectional changes of organic evolution. Below we briefly discuss some of these patterns and processes. They fall outside the domain of classical sequence stratigraphy but we believe that the seismic stratigra-pher should be aware of them as they may well influence sediment production and sequence anatomy in reefs and carbonate platforms.

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