Integration of the stratigraphic aspects of very large sea-floor databases using information processing
Chris Jenkins, Jim Flocks, Mark Kulp, 2006. "Integration of the stratigraphic aspects of very large sea-floor databases using information processing", New Techniques in Sediment Core Analysis, R. G. Rothwell
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Information-processing methods are described that integrate the stratigraphic aspects of large and diverse collections of sea-floor sample data. They efficiently convert common types of sea-floor data into database and GIS (geographical information system) tables, visual core logs, stratigraphic fence diagrams and sophisticated stratigraphic statistics. The input data are held in structured documents, essentially written core logs that are particularly efficient to create from raw input datasets. Techniques are described that permit efficient construction of regional databases consisting of hundreds of cores. The sedimentological observations in each core are located by their downhole depths (metres below sea floor — mbsf) and also by a verbal term that describes the sample ‘situation’ — a special fraction of the sediment or position in the core. The main processing creates a separate output event for each instance of top, bottom and situation, assigning top-base mbsf values from numeric or, where possible, from word-based relative locational information such as ‘core catcher’ in reference to sampler device, and recovery or penetration length. The processing outputs represent the sub-bottom as a sparse matrix of over 20 sediment properties of interest, such as grain size, porosity and colour. They can be plotted in a range of core-log programs including an in-built facility that better suits the requirements of sea-floor data. Finally, a suite of stratigraphic statistics are computed, including volumetric grades, overburdens, thicknesses and degrees of layering.
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Marine sediment cores are the fundamental data source for information on seabed character, depositional history and environmental change. They provide raw data for a wide range of research including studies of climate change, palaeoceanography, slope stability, oil exploration, pollution assessment and control, seafloor survey for laying cables, pipelines and construction of seafloor structures. During the last three decades, a varied suite of new technologies have been developed to analyse cores, often non-destructively, to produce high-quality, closely spaced, co-located downcore measurements. These techniques can characterize sediment physical properties, geochemistry and composition in unprecedented detail. Palaeoenvironmentally significant proxies can now be logged at decadal, and in some cases, annual or sub-annual scales, allowing highly detailed insights into climatic history and associated environmental change. These advances have had a profound effect on many aspects of the Earth Sciences and our understanding of the Earth's history.
In this volume, recent advances in analytical and logging technology and their application to the analysis of sediment cores are presented. Developments in providing access to core data and associated datasets, and advances in data mining technology in order to integrate and interpret new and legacy datasets within the wider context of seafloor studies are also discussed.