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Growing interest in stratigraphic facies relations has resulted in the proposal of numerous terms intended to distinguish different kinds of facies. Instead of promoting accuracy in thinking and expression, however, this has resulted in much confusion because little agreement is evident in the current usage of facies terms. Twenty-four terms are listed together with the varying definitions that have been presented for them and illustrations of their varied use.
The many ideas expressed in connection with stratigraphic facies show that several different types, classes, and aspects of varying objective facies can be distinguished. This introduces so many variables into facies considerations that no simple classification seems possible. Also if names were to be provided for all kinds of facies, nomenclature would become unreasonably burdensome. Correction of the present unsatisfactory situation demands that facies terminology be systematized and simplified.
The twenty-four facies terms are re-examined to determine their usefulness and necessity. The conclusion is reached that only two are important in application to stratigraphy. These are facies and lithofacies which are redefined in such a way that each can be used in more than one sense without confusion. A few other terms may be useful in special situations or in theoretical considerations and definitions are provided for them. More than half of the twenty-four terms are judged to be superfluous and they can be rejected without loss.
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