Stress variations in the lithosphere of a few hundred bars can explain the major part of the seismostratigraphic record at passive margins and intracratonic basins. However, to induce apparent sea-level fluctuations with magnitudes greater than 50 m, changes in stress level of more than 1 kbar are required. These must be related to major reorganizations at convergent plate boundaries, fragmentation of plates, or collision processes. Specific rapid falls in the Vail et al. curves can be associated quantitatively with particular plate-tectonic reorganizations of lithospheric stress fields. The seismostratigraphic record may provide a new source of information on paleo-stress fields to be correlated with results of independent numerical modeling of intraplate stresses.