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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 49 (1965)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 343

Last Page: 343

Title: Mathematical Simulation of Sediment Organism Community Interactions with an IBM 7090 Computer: ABSTRACT

Author(s): J. H. Harbaugh, Jay Woods

Article Type: Meeting abstract


An ALGOL-58 computer program has been written by the authors for IBM 7090 or 7094 computers for simulating the interactions of combined sediment-organism communities through geologic time. Although the program is based on a mathematical model applicable to various sea-floor communities, the program has been developed with carbonate sediment-organism communities in mind.

The mathematical model considers the sea floor at a given "instant" in time to consist of a large number of discrete elements arranged on a grid of arbitrary dimensions. Each grid element may be thought of as a square containing a single community and is symbolized by an integer number in a two-dimensional array. Successive "time planes" (sea-floor surfaces) are generated in which the distribution of communities for each discrete instant is printed out using various symbols to identify different communities.

The program employs feedback control loops in which the geographic distribution of communities on preceding sea-floor surfaces influences, but does not rigidly control, the geographic distribution of communities that develop subsequently. The selection of a community element occupying a particular square at a particular moment is treated as a random process influenced by conditional probabilities. The program makes extensive use of pseudo-random number generation methods for selection of individual elements.

The program is being used to study the development of Devonian coral-stromatoporoid reefs, as well as idealized modern sediment-organism communities. Adaptive learning techniques are used to adapt the model to real data. Mathematical simulation should be a powerful oil-finding tool in some regions by yielding greater insight into the behavior of reefs and other sedimentary features and providing improved means of prediction.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists