Quantitative sequence stratigraphy

R. Bruce Ainsworth, Jamie B. Mcarthur, Simon C. Lang, Adam J. Vonk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Sequence stratigraphy based onwire-line logs, cores, and outcrops is entering its fourth decade of mainstream usage in industry and academia. The technique has proved to be an invaluable tool for improving stratigraphic analyses in both clastic and carbonate settings. Here we present a simple quantitative technique to support sequence stratigraphic interpretations in clastic shallow marine systems. The technique uses two pieces of data that are readily available from every subsurface field or outcrop study: (1) parasequence thickness (T) and (2) parasequence sandstone fraction (SF). The key assumptions are that parasequence thickness can be used as a proxy for accommodation at the time of deposition and parasequence sandstone fraction can be used as a proxy for sediment supply. This means that quantitative proxies for rates of accommodation development and sediment supply can be acquired from wire-line logs, cores, and outcrop data. Vertical trends in parasequence thickness divided by sandstone fraction (T/SF) approximate trends expected in systems tracts for changes in ratios of rate of accommodation development to rate of sediment supply. The technique, termed "TSF analysis, " can also be applied at lower-order sequence and composite sequence scales. It provides a quantitative and objective methodology for determining rank and order of sequence stratigraphic surfaces and units. Absolute T/SF values can be used to determine shoreline, stacked shoreline, and shelf-margin trajectories. Four case studies are presented, which demonstrate the robustness of the technique across a range of different data sets. Implications and potential future applications of TSF analyses are discussed. Copyright ©2018. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1913-1939
Number of pages27
JournalAAPG Bulletin
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


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