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Kinematic Sequence Stratigraphy Revisited

Barbeau, David L.1
1 Geological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

With foundations rooted in the works of the likes of Walther, Blackwelder, Grabau, Wheeler and Sloss, more than thirty years ago Peter Vail, Robert Mitchum and colleagues recognized the utility of stratal termination patterns for formally subdividing, tracking and analyzing the stratigraphy of detrital sedimentary rocks. While Vail, Mitchum and colleagues were focusing on the application of such principles to understanding ‘passive’ margin stratigraphy, Oriol Riba was applying similar logic to the interpretation of synkinematic successions, which have since become widely known as growth strata. In the three decades since these developments, ‘conventional’ sequence stratigraphy has been extensively employed and applied, aiding greatly in the efficient recovery of hydrocarbon resources and in interpreting the stratigraphic record of eustatic variation. With the recent pursuit of hydrocarbon resources expanding more frequently into complicated structural settings, accurately subdividing, characterizing and interpreting synkinematic strata has become increasingly important. Eight years have elapsed since Jeff Geslin and I first proposed a framework for interpreting growth strata using similar logic as that applied by Riba, Vail and Mitchum. This ‘kinematic sequence stratigraphy’ interpretive framework offers both opportunities and challenges. This presentation describes the conceptual model and provides classic and recent examples of its application to growth strata occurring in marine and terrestrial depositional systems that are affected by syndepositional deformation in contractional, extensional and mobile-substrate systems. I also present some of the challenges on the road ahead, and propose strategies for moving forward.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009