A quantitative comparison of 20 literature case studies of fluvial sedimentary successions tests common assumptions made in published models of alluvial architecture concerning (1) inverse proportionality between channel-deposit density and floodplain aggradation rates, and (2) resulting characteristics of channel-body geometries and connectedness. Our results do not support the relationships predicted by established stratigraphy models: the data suggest that channel-body density, geometry, and stacking pattern are not reliable diagnostic indicators of rates of accommodation creation. Hence, these architectural characteristics alone do not permit the definition of accommodation-based “systems tracts” and “settings”, and this calls into question current sequence stratigraphic practice in application to fluvial successions.

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