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Understanding eustatic (global sea-level) changes and their effects on the geological record is an important but difficult task because eustatic effects are complexly intertwined with basin subsidence and changes in sediment supply. Led by Peter Vail, researchers at EPR reconstructed a eustatic history by applying sequence stratigraphy to a global array of proprietary seismic profiles, industry wells, and outcrops. This EPR eustatic record has been controversial owing to methodological concerns and reliance on largely unpublished data. The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) has focussed on drilling the New Jersey, Bahamas, and Australian margins for sea-level studies and has accomplished the following:

  1. Validated a transect approach of drilling passive continental margins and carbonate platforms (onshore, shelf, slope);

  2. Tested and validated the assumption that the primary cause of impedance contrasts producing seismic reflections on continental margins are stratal surfaces including unconformities;

  3. Proved that the ages of sequence boundaries on margins can be determined to better than ±0.5 m.y. and provided a chronology of eustatic lowering for the past 100 m.y.;

  4. Achieved orbital-scale (perhaps suborbital) stratigraphic resolution on continental slopes and carbonate platforms;

  5. Showed that siliciclastic and carbonate margins yield correlatable and in some cases comparable records of sea-level change;

  6. Evaluated the sedimentary response of both tropical and cool-water carbonate platforms to eustatic changes;

  7. Begun to constrain the amplitude and cause of eustatic change for both the Iceahouse World of the past 42 m.y. and the Greenhouse World of 250-42 Ma, as outlined below.

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