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Abstract

Karl Popper once wrote, “Out of theories we create a world: not the real world, but our own nets in which we try to catch the real world.” One of the more exciting applications of quantitative analysis of basin development is its use as a tool in determining the relative importance of tectonic, eustatic and climatic effects on the development of basinal stratigraphy. The goal in modeling the development of basinal stratigraphy is not to try to explain every detail observed in the real world, but instead serves as a framework from which we can view the real world. As such, simplified basin-filling models can guide us to look for those critical field relations that can be used to distinguish between the fundamental factors governing the formation of the basinal stratigraphy.

Geologists tend to think of certain factors as the primary controls on the development of basin fills, including: source area uplift rate, source area lithology, rain fall, temperature regime, sea level changes, and basin subsidence rates. In contrast, basin models can address only the most basic controls, such as: basin subsidence, eustatics, volume of sediment supply (flux), sorting of the sediment supply, and rates of sediment transport. The problem is that the relationship between the geologists' factors and the modeling parameters are far from straight forward. For example, changes in rainfall might affect sorting, flux and transportability of the sediment supplied to a basin. Changes in source area lithology can affect all of the same modeling factors. Because of

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