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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 66 (1982)

Issue: 2. (February)

First Page: 158

Last Page: 169

Title: Quaternary Chronology, Paleoclimate, Depositional Sequences, and Eustatic Cycles

Author(s): J. H. Beard (2), J. B. Sangree (3), L. A. Smith (4)


Pleistocene alternations of ocean volumes, expressed as relative changes in sea level, are symptomatic of the accumulation and melting of continental ice sheets and resulted in lowstands of sea level during glacial periods and highstands during interglacial periods. A lowstand-highstand couplet constitutes a eustatic cycle. Eight cycles that occurred during the last 2.5 to 3.0 m.y. are recognized in the Gulf Coast region. These cycles are identified by multiple criteria, including paleontologic, sedimentologic, and seismic evidence. Eustatic cycle concepts can be used in seismic stratigraphy to identify seismic (depositional) sequences. Such seismic-sequence analyses are based on identification of discrete stratigraphic units within relatively conformable intervals of str ta by using reflection patterns on the seismogram. For example, glacial periods may exhibit chaotic bedding surfaces on the seismogram, whereas interglacial periods may display parallel bedding surfaces. Seismic sequence analyses provide a sound basis for applying the global system of geochronology to seismic data for the improvement of stratigraphic and structural interpretations. Moreover, seismic sequence analyses in new exploration areas allow for reliable predictions of geologic age ahead of drilling and facilitate preliminary tectonostratigraphic reconstructions.

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