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Aspects of the stratal architecture of forced regressive deposits

By
Henry W. Posamentier
Henry W. Posamentier
ARCO ARIIPO Box 260 888, Plano, Texas 75026-0888USA
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William R. Morris
William R. Morris
ARCO ARIIPO Box 260 888, Plano, Texas 75026-0888USA
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Published:
January 01, 2000

Abstract

Forced regression refers to the process of seaward migration of a shoreline in direct response to relative sea-level fall. Recognition criteria for forced regressive deposits include: (1) presence of a significant zone of separation between successive shoreface deposits, (2) the presence of sharp-based shoreface/delta front deposits, (3) the presence of progressively shallower clinoforms going from proximal to distal, (4) the occurrence of long-distance regression, (5) the absence of fluvial and/or coastal plain/delta plain capping the proximal portion of regressive deposits, (6) the presence of a seaward-dipping upper bounding surface at the top of the regressive succession, (7) the presence of increased average sediment grain size in regressive deposits going from proximal to distal and (8) the presence of ‘foreshortened’ stratigraphic successions.

The principal factors driving the stratal architecture of forced regressive deposits include: (1) the gradient of the sea floor progressively exposed by falling relative sea-level, (2) the ratio of the sediment flux to the rate of relative sea-level fall, (3) the ‘smoothness’ of relative sea-level fall, (4) the variability of sediment flux and (5) the changes of sedimentary process that occur as sea-level falls and progressively more of the shelf is subaerially exposed.

Forced regressive deposits are grouped into attached v. detached, and smooth-topped v. stepped-topped. Attached deposits are defined as successive downstepped stratigraphic units whose shoreface/delta front deposits are generally in contact with each other. In contrast, detached deposits are defined as successive downstepped stratigraphic units whose shoreface/delta front deposits are generally not in contact with each other. Rather, in this instance a zone of sedimentary bypass exists. Stepped-top forced regressive deposits are characterized by a succession of horizontally topped though downstepping stratigraphic units. In contrast, smooth-topped forced regressive deposits are characterized by a seaward-dipping, albeit smooth, upper bounding surface. The bounding surfaces of forced regressive deposits commonly are expressed as a ravinement surface at the top and an unconformity to correlative conformity at the base.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Sedimentary Responses to Forced Regressions

D. Hunt
D. Hunt
The University of Manchester, UK
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R. L. Gawthorpe
R. L. Gawthorpe
The University of Manchester, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
172
ISBN electronic:
9781862394209
Publication date:
January 01, 2000

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