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Abstract

Seismic stratigraphic and seismic geomorphologic observations can yield comprehensive sequence stratigraphic interpretations. When these interpretations incorporate process sedimentological inferences, more robust interpretations are produced. In practice, each informs the other, creating a strong positive feedback loop that results in a more comprehensive interpretation. Moreover, considerations of process sedimentology can lead to extension of interpretations both up-system and down-system of study areas. The end result will be enhanced regional lithologic prediction. Two examples are used to illustrate this work flow: deep-water channels and deep-water terminal fans. In the former, the architecture of channel fills implies an early erosional phase associated with relatively large flows, which commonly characterize early lowstand periods. This early erosional phase, having little to no preserved deposits due to repeated cannibalization, creates the “container” that will ultimately provide the accommodation for sedimentation. Subsequently, this sedimentation occurs during late lowstand, which is characterized by relatively smaller, less energetic flows that result in a net depositional phase. Considerations of process sedimentology shed light both on the genesis of deposits within the channel as well as what has occurred up-system where associated flows originated. In the case of deep-water terminal fans, the succession of depositional systems as documented by seismic stratigraphic and seismic geomorphologic data is interpreted through the lens of process sedimentology, resulting in enhanced understanding of the depositional sequence that is preserved and enhanced lithologic predictability. In this case as well, this integrated work flow results in predictions relevant to both up-system and down-system deposits.

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