Report of an Ordinary General Meeting of the Geological Society, organized by the Stratigraphy Committee and convened by D. G. Smith, held at Burlington House on 28 September 1988.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring together practitioners of as many as possible of the diverse current approaches to stratigraphic analysis, and to present stratigraphy as a dynamic and rapidly developing discipline central to our understanding of global processes. There has been an increasingly open recognition of the role of models as fundamental to progress in stratigraphy, with consequent diminution of emphasis on objective documentation of the stratigraphic record for its own sake. This more analytical approach is underlined by the greater use of numerical methods and by the linking of stratigraphy, through subsidence analysis at the basin-scale, to global-scale tectonic processes. Along with this, there has been a tendency for increasing divergence of approach between those in institutional research and those in exploration, for whom the predictive power of the model-driven approach is essential to their livelihood. The meeting succeeded, through 15 oral presentations and one poster, in giving a good impression of the variety of current approaches to stratigraphic analysis, from highly theoretical to explicitly field based.
The theme of the incompleteness of the stratigraphic record was introduced by D. V. Ager, who argued that the record is not even representative of the geological past. E. A. Hailwood pointed out the danger of circular reasoning in deducing stratigraphic incompleteness from the biostrati-graphic record, as the latter is