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Growth structures develop when sediments are deposited during tectonic events such as normal and thrust faulting, diapirism, and subsidence. Information about sedimentary and tectonic history can be obtained by analyzing the depths to stratigraphic horizons within growth structures, either from well log or depth-corrected seismic data. For example, differences in depth between correlatable horizons are determined for two wells (^Dgrd), and then plotted versus total depth in the structurally higher well (d). Positive slopes on this graph indicate expanded sedimentary sections, negative slopes are condensed sections, and curves with no slope are environments free of differential tectonic motion. Changes in either sedimentation or tectonic conditions create discontinuities o changes in slope. Thus, the growth plots provide strong constraints on any interpretation. The plot of ^Dgrd versus d helps to distinguish faults from unconformities in well log data, to identify hard to locate sequence boundaries, and to locate stratigraphic miscorrelations, which appear as outlying points from the curve. This method for analyzing sedimentary growth structures can be applied to any tectonic or sedimentary environment and has many applications.
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