Abstract

The inference of relative sea-level change is fundamental to sequence stratigraphy, but in many situations determination of sea-level rise, with associated marine transgression, is more reliable than sea-level fall. This is especially true of epicontinental marine successions characterized by low subsidence and sedimentation rates and only limited influx of coarse siliciclastic sediments. In either the Exxon or Galloway schemes of sequence stratigraphy, offshore condensed sections are taken as evidence of sea-level rise and are normally associated with maximum flooding surfaces. However, condensed sections may grade into stratigraphic hiatuses or disconformities of a very different character from what are interpreted as sequence-bounding unconformities in the Exxon scheme. There may also be evidence of the erosion of significant amounts of consolidated rock, which is more plausibly accounted for by relative sea-level fall leading to emersion than to unusually intense storm or current activity in a submarine setting. Several examples from the European Jurassic are discussed here.

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