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Sequence stratigraphic models for the Paleogene of NW Europe can be said to have already been initiated in the early nineteenth century. Cuvier & Brongniart (1811) classified the sediments of the Paris area into packages, the boundaries of which are generally regional hiatuses or unconformities. Classification of Paleogene successions on the southern margins of the North Sea Basin into transgressive-regressive ‘cycles’ by Leriche (1905), a technique adopted and extended by Stamp (1921) to the Hampshire and London Basins, was an innovative approach, well ahead of its time, which introduced order into the complex pattern of lithofacies. This approach was, however, subsequently largely neglected in favour of primarily biostratigraphic attempts at correlation, until the arrival of process-based sedimentology in the 1960s. The identification of depositional sequences in the Paleogene of southern England, based on detailed stratigraphical and sedimentological analysis, was revived by Edwards (1967), Curry et al. (1977), Plint (1980, 1983a, b) and King (1981), and has since been applied to almost all onshore Tertiary successions (e.g. Steurbaut 1998; Vandenberghe et al. 1998, 2004) for Belgium.

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