A SIMPLIFIED GUIDE FOR SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY: NOMENCLATURE, DEFINITIONS AND METHOD
Success in the paleontological community is linked to their approach for defining a code. Biostratigraphy is codified as a method, not a science, based on simple criteria that can be directly observed from available data. Implications for interpretation, in terms of causal mechanisms, follow after initial interpretation, and are not part of the code.
Then, why we don't agree on basic rules for identifying surfaces and systems tracts based on direct observational criteria? We suggest that the source of this problem lies on the terminology proposed originally for surfaces and systems tracts. Highstand, Transgressive, and Lowstand are ambiguous terms. Two of them (Highstand and Lowstand) imply sea-level positions and one of them (Transgressive) relates to a lateral movement of shoreline. We pose that this mixing of terminology is at the heart of the problem, implying to be necessary to integrate interpretation of causal mechanisms with direct observations from data to classify a surface or a systems tract.
A Sequence Stratigraphic code should be based on criteria directly observable from outcrop, core, well-log, and seismic data, independent of mechanisms, duration, or magnitude of events. This proposed approach leaves the interpretation of mechanisms as a step after the definition of surfaces and systems tracts. In this presentation, we offer guidelines for interpretation and updated definitions of classical terms, slightly modified from the original definitions. Our modifications are intended to emphasize observations, as well as to clarify communication of terminology through the use of translation terms taken from literature.