The delivery of sediment into basins can readily be studied using process-independent models. The simplest such model is the discrete fractionation model in two dimensions, without erosion. It represents the path down which sediment is delivered as a simple set of discrete steps, and assumes that the sediment is delivered down those steps in a series of discrete events. This model has two parameters – the feed volume and the fractionation coefficient. The feed volume is the volume of sediment fed to the first step in the delivery path, and the fractionation coefficient is the proportion of the sediment reaching a step that is then moved on. Several variants of this model are described here, each involving restrictions on one or both of these parameters. The model has obvious and important applications, but these will be difficult to realize until the problem of parameter estimation has been solved. Fortunately, it seems possible to solve this problem by removing some of the model’s restrictions; these were built into it initially for analytical reasons. Removing these restrictions also makes the model applicable to a wider range of sedimentation systems.
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There is an increasing trend in the Earth sciences towards the integration of many subdisciplines. The sedimendatry basin, is a fundamental focal point of many studies, which as a consequence often neglects the complimentary drainage basin or catchment. Sedimentary basins provide a record of Earth history, reflecting the geographical, lithological, oceanographic and ecological development through the rock record. Drainage basins in comparison record ephemeral landscape evolution, where topography is eroded and provides the flux of sediment to the basin. The basin fill reflects the sediment flux from the hinterland and provides evidence of the dynamic geomorphic processes. In context the drainage system and sedimentary basin can be regarded as a ‘production line’ with sedimentary record giving valuable insight into long-term landscape evolution and geomorphological processes illuminating the evolution of sedimentary basins.
This volume assesses the current position of understanding sediment supply to basins with the integration of the many sub-disciplines in the Earth sciences. It documents a mix of hinterland and sedimentary basin studies with a gradation from orogenic belts to the deep marine. The authors represent a wide spectrum of Earth scientist, with leaders in the science providing review papers and new-directive papers in their field of specialization.