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Stratigraphic sequences and systems tracts as defined in sequence stratigraphy (Figure 4-1) are lithostratigraphic concepts and as such interpretable in sedimentologic terms. We believe that sedimento-logic analysis is the most appropriate way to reveal the primary controls behind a certain feature of sequence stratigraphy. This, in turn, allows one to assess the role of sea level and other factors in building the sequence record.

When sedimentologic analysis is performed, it turns out that very often sea level is not the only process that may generate sequences and systems tracts. The classical interpretation of sequences and systems tracts in terms of sea-level cycles (Figure 4-2) is a possible, but generally not a unique solution. In particular, changes in volume and composition of sediment will often have similar effects as sea-level fluctuations (Figure 4-3). Whether these alternative controls do apply, has to be determined specifically for each instance. Chapter 6 discusses examples of sequences created not by sea level but by other processes. Here, we will examine some pivotal concepts and terms of sequence stratigraphy and seismic stratigraphy to improve our understanding of their genesis.

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