Sequence-stratigraphic and mass-balance analysis of experimental stratigraphy
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
- stratal terminations (onlap, downlap, toplap, offlap, erosional truncation)
- stratal stacking patterns (progradational, aggradational, retrogradational)
- sequence-stratigraphic surfaces (sequence boundary, transgressive surface, maximum flooding surface)
- systems tracts (lowstand, transgressive, highstand, +/- falling stage, depending on your preference)
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
In 2010, XES 10 was conducted as a sister experiment to XES 02 and was designed to explore how basin subsidence geometry influences stratigraphic patterns. Experimental boundary conditions XES 10 were matched closely to those in XES 02 except subsidence geometry was reversed; XES-02 subsidence rates increased away from the source (i.e. "fore-tilted" subsidence, broadly similar to what is observed on passive margins) whereas XES-10 subsidence rates were highest close to the source (i.e. "back-tilted" subsidence, broadly similar to patterns in foreland basins).
In this assignment, students are tasked with comparing XES-10 stratigraphy to the XES-02 results presented in Martin et al. in an effort to evaluate how basin subsidence geometry influences stratigraphic patterns and sediment mass balance.
Students are provided a high-resolution dip-section image of XES-10 stratigraphy and map the deposit using Adobe Illustrator (or Inkscape), identifying key surfaces and bounded stratal packages. Using ImageJ, students then calculate the center-of-mass for each stratal package and compare their results to those of Martin et al.
Assignment handout (Acrobat (PDF) 689kB Jun6 14)
Centroid mapping instructions (Acrobat (PDF) 387kB Jun6 14)
Martin et al., 2009 paper (Acrobat (PDF) 12.7MB Jun6 14)
Adobe Illustrator tutorial (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 303kB Jun6 14)
Teaching Notes and Tips
This project demands a lot of time from the students (the students worked over the course of a month that included spring break), but in the end, students with no sequence-stratigraphic background before the course felt very comfortable using these methods and thinking critically about stratigraphic patterns.
For a project based on XES 02, see: http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/sedimentary/models/xes_basin_project.html
References and Resources
A forthcoming paper in JSR on XES 10 can be used as a reference for more information about the details of that experiment.
E. Hajek, P. Heller, A. Petter, A. AlAbbad, W. Kim, In Press, Amplification of shoreline response to sea-level change by back-tilted subsidence, Journal of Sedimentary Research.
Overhead video of XES 10 available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWi39PWrHeY
ImageJ software freely available here: http://imagej.nih.gov/ij/
Inkscape software freely available here: http://www.inkscape.org/en/