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Siliciclastic Sequence

Siliciclastic Sequence

Stratigraphy in Well Logs,

Stratigraphy in Well Logs,

-

Cores, and Outcrops:

Cores, and Outcrops:

Concepts for High-Resolution

Concepts for High-Resolution

Correlation of ~imeand Facies

Correlation of TilDe and Facies

by

J.C. Van Wagoner, R.M. Mitchum,

J.C. Van WagoneI; R.M. Mitchum,

K.M.Campion, and V.D. Rahmanian

K.M. Campion, and V.D. Rahmanian

AAPG Methods in Exploration Series, No. 7

AAPG Methods in Exploration Series, No.7

Published by

Published by

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists

Tulsa, Oklahoma 74101 U.s.A.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

74101U.S.A.

© 1990 The American Association of Petroleum Geologists, All Rights Reserved.

© 1990 The American Association of Petroleum Geologists, All Rights Reserved.

2 2

Previous stratigraphic concepts

Previous stratigraphic concepts

in most places, the facies above these boundaries have

no physical or temporal relationship to the facies

below. Because of this decoupling of facies across

these boundaries, vertical facies analysis should be

in most places, the facies above these boundaries have

no physical or temporal relationship to the facies

below. Because of this decoupling

of facies across

these boundaries, vertical facies analysis should be

done within the context of parasequences,

done within the context of parasequences, parase-

parase-

quence sets, and sequences to interpret lateral facies

quence sets, and sequences to interpret lateral facies

relationships accurately.

relationships accurately.

Using well logs, cores, or outcrops, each sequence

can be subdivided into stratal units called systems

Using well logs, cores, or outcrops, each sequence

can

be subdivided into stratal units called systems

tracts, based on their positions within the sequence,

sets, and facies asso-

the distribution of parasequence

tracts, based on their positions within the sequence,

the distribution of parasequence sets, and facies asso-

ciations. Systems tracts are defined as a "linkage of

contemporaneous depositional systems" (Brown and

Fisher, 1977). Systems tracts provide a high degree of

ciations. Systems tracts are defined as a "linkage of

contemporaneous depositional systems" (Brown and

Fisher,

1977). Systems tracts provide a high degree of

facies predictability within the chronostratigraphic

framework of sequence boundaries. This predictabil-

ity is especially important for the analysis of reservoir,

facies predictability within the chronostratigraphic

framework of sequence boundaries. This predictabil-

ity is especially important for the analysis of reservoir,

source, and seal facies within a basin or a field.

source, and seal facies within a basin or a field.

This book documents the stratal expressions of para-

sequences, parasequence sets, especially as compo-

nents of systems tracts, and sequences in well logs,

cores, and outcrops. Additionally, the book illustrates

well-log, core, and outcrop-recognition criteria for the

This book documents the stratal expressions of para-

sequences, parasequence sets, especially as compo-

nents of systems tracts, and sequences in well logs,

cores, and outcrops. Additionally, the book illustrates

well-log, core, and outcrop-recognition criteria for the

stratal units from the lamina to the sequence, and

demonstrates how the stratal units are used to achieve

stratal units from the lamina to the sequence, and

demonstrates how the stratal units are used to achieve

a high-resolution correlation of time

a high-resolution correlation of time and facies.

Finally, the book will relate these stratal patterns to

accommodation concepts developed by Jervey (1988),

and facies.

Finally, the book will relate these stratal patterns to

accommodation concepts developed by Jervey (1988),

Posamentier et al. (1988), and Posamentier and Vail

Posamentier et al. (1988), and Posamentier and Vail

(1988).

(1988).

PREVIOUS STRATIGRAPHIC

PREVIOUS STRATIGRAPHIC

CONCEPTS

CONCEPTS

AND TERMINOLOGY

AND TERMINOLOGY

The sequence as an unconformity-bounded stratal

The sequence as an unconformity-bounded stratal

was proposed by Sloss in 1948 (Sloss et al., 1949;

Sloss, 1950, 1963). Sloss (1963) pointed out, "The

sequence concept is not new and was already old

unit

unit was proposed by Sloss in 1948 (Sloss et al., 1949;

. Sloss, 1950, 1963). Sloss (1963) pointed out, "The

sequence concept

is not new and was already old

when it was enunciated by the writer and his col-

leagues in 1948. The concept and practice is as old as

when it was enunciated by the writer and his col-

leagues in 1948. The concept and practice is as old as

organized stratigraphy." Nonetheless, Sloss deserv-

edly is given credit for developing the

formity-bounded sequence as a stratigraphic tool.

organized stratigraphy:' Nonetheless, Sloss deserv-

edly is given credit for developing the uncon-

uncon-

formity-bounded sequence as a stratigraphic tool.

Sloss (1963) recognized six packages of strata bounded

by interregional unconformities on the North Ameri-

can craton between latest Precambrian and Holocene

Sloss (1963) recognized six packages of strata bounded

by interregional unconformities on the North Ameri-

can craton between latest Precambrian and Holocene

deposits. He called these stratal packages

"sequences" and gave them native American names

deposits. He called these stratal packages

"sequences" and gave them native American names

to emphasize their North American derivation (Sloss,

to emphasize their North American derivation (Sloss,

1988). Sloss (1988) used these cratonic sequences as

operationalunits forpractical tasks such as facies map-

1988). Sloss (1988) used these cratonic sequences as

operational units for practical tasks such as facies map-

ping, although he felt that these sequences "have no

necessary applications to the rock stratigraphy and

time stratigraphy of extracratonic or extracontinental

ping, although he felt that these sequences "have no

necessary applications to the rock stratigraphy and

time stratigraphy of extracratonic or extracontinental

areas" (Sloss, 1963). Although the concept of the cra-

tonic sequence provided the foundation for sequence

tonic sequence provided the foundation for sequence

areas" (Sloss,

1963). Although the concept of the cra-

stratigraphy, Sloss's ideas had found little acceptance

in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970sexcept for Wheeler

stratigraphy, Sloss's ideas had found little acceptance

in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s except for Wheeler

(1958) and "former students and close acquaintances"

(1958)and "former students and close acquaintances"

(Sloss, 1988).

The next major development in the evolution of

sequence stratigraphy occurred when

Mitchum, J.B. Sangree, and S. Thompson I11of Exxon

published the concepts of seismic stratigraphy in the

(Sloss,

1988).

The next major development in the evolution of

sequence stratigraphy occurred when P.R. Vail, R.M.

Mitchum, J.B. Sangree, and S. Thompson III of Exxon

published the concepts of seismic stratigraphy in the

P.R. Vail, R.M.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists Mem-

American Association of Petroleum Geologists Mem-

oir 26 (Payton, 1977). In a series of seminal articles

these authors presented the concepts of eustasy and

resulting unconformity-bounded stratal patterns

applied to and documented with seismic-reflection

oir

26 (Payton, 1977). In a series of seminal articles

these authors presented the concepts of eustasy and

resulting

unconformity-bounded stratal patterns

applied to and documented with seismic-reflection

data. Mitchum

data. Mitchum (1977) sharpened and extended the

(1977) sharpened and extended the

concept

concept of the sequence by defining it as "a strati-

graphic unit composed of a relatively conformable suc-

of the sequence by defining it as "a strati-

graphic unit composed of a relatively conformable suc-

cession of genetically related strata and bounded at its

cession of genetically related strata and bounded at its

top and base by unconformities or their correlative

top and base by unconformities or their correlative

conformities." Vail modified Sloss's (1963) use of

sequence in two other important ways. First, the

conformities."

Vail modified Sloss's (1963) use of

sequence in two other important ways. First, the

sequence of Vail and Mitchum encompassed a much

sequence of Vail and Mitchum encompassed a much

smaller amount of time than the sequence of Sloss

(1963).The original six cratonic sequences were signif-

icantly subdivided; Sloss's sequences became super-

sequences on the Exxon cycle chart. Second, Vail

smaller amount of time

than the sequence of Sloss

(1963). The original six cratonic sequences were signif-

icantly subdivided; Sloss's sequences became super-

sequences on the Exxon cycle chart. Second,

Vail

proposed eustasy as the predominant driving mecha-

proposed eustasy as the predominant driving mecha-

nism for sequence evolution

nism for sequence evolution (Vail et al., 1977). This

interpretation alone generated and continues to gen-

(Vail et aI., 1977). This

interpretation alone generated and continues to gen-

erate much discussion (Sloss,

erate much discussion (Sloss, 1988; Galloway, 1989a).

1988; Galloway, 1989a).

As a result of Memoir 26 (Payton, 1977) and the advent

As a result of Memoir 26 (Payton, 1977)and the advent

of improved seismic-reflection technology, the

of improved seismic-reflection technology, the

sequence as a practical, unconformity-bounded unit

sequence as a practical, unconformity-bounded unit

for stratigraphic analysis advanced a giant leap

for stratigraphic analysis

advanced a giant leap

beyond Sloss's original concept of cratonic sequences.

beyond Sloss's original concept of cratonic sequences.

Although they represented a major step forward in

the application of sequences, seismic-stratigraphy

concepts in the late 1970s were applied primarily to

basin analysis at the scale of the seismic data. Well

logs, cores, and outcrops generally were not used

independently to analyze sequences. Seismic stratig-

raphy did not offer the necessary precision to analyze

sedimentary strata at the reservoir scale.

In 1980 the application of seismic stratigraphy was

broadened by new accommodation models developed

by Jervey (1988) to explain seismically resolvable

stratal patterns. The accommodation models quickly

Although they represented a major step forward in

the application of sequences, seismic-stratigraphy

concepts in the late

1970s were applied primarily to

basin analysis at the scale

of the seismic data. Well

logs, cores, and outcrops generally were not used

independently to analyze sequences. Seismic stratig-

raphy did not offer the necessary precision to analyze

sedimentary strata at the reservoir scale.

In

1980 the application of seismic stratigraphy was

broadened by new accommodation models developed

by Jervey

(1988) to explain seismically resolvable

stratal patterns. The accommodation models quickly

led to the realization that the sequence could be subdi-

led to the realization that the sequence could be subdi-

vided into smaller stratal units, ultimately called"sys-

vided into smaller stratal units, ultimately called "sys-

tems tracts" (Brown and Fisher,

tems tracts" (Brown and Fisher, 1977). In conceptual,

3-dimensional block diagrams developed by

mentier and Vail, (1988), and Baum and Vail (1988),

submarine-fan, lowstand, transgressive, and high-

stand systems tracts were illustrated in type-1

sequences; shelf-margin, transgressive, and high-

stand systems tracts were illustrated in type-2

sequences. After 1980the lowstand system tract of the

type-1 sequence was recognized to consist of the

1977). In conceptual,

3-dimensional block diagrams developed by Posa-

Posa-

mentier and Vail, (1988), and Baum and Vail (1988),

submarine-fan, lowstand, transgressive, and high-

stand systems tracts were illustrated in type-1

sequences; shelf-margin, transgressive, and high-

stand systems tracts were illustrated in type-2

sequences. After 1980 the lowstand system tract of the

type-1 sequence was recognized to consist of the

basin-floor fan, slope fan, lowstand-prograding

wedge, and incised-valley fill (Vail, 1987).Type-1 and

basin-floor fan, slope fan, lowstand-prograding

wedge, and incised-valley fill (Vail, 1987). Type-1 and

type-2 referred to the type of unconformity upon

type-2 referred to the type of unconformity upon

which the sequence rested. Systems tracts and type-1

which the sequence rested. Systems tracts and type-1

and type-2 sequences will be explained further in the

"Sequence" section, later in the book.

Concurrently with the development of the concep-

and type-2 sequences will be explained further in the

"Sequence" section, later in the book.

Concurrently with the development of the concep-

tual models, other Exxon stratigraphers strongly influ-

tual models, other Exxon stratigraphers strongly influ-

enced by D.E. Frazier (1974) and c.v. Campbell (1967)

enced by D.E. Frazier (1974)and C.V. Campbell (1967)

began to analyze the stacking patterns of shallowing-

began to analyze the stacking patterns of shallowing-

upward siliciclastic strata in well logs, cores, and out-

crops. The goal of this analysis was to use stacking

upward siliciclastic strata in well logs, cores, and out-

crops. The goal of this analysis was to use stacking

patterns to improve subsurface correlations of time

patterns to improve subsurface correlations of time

and facies. These shallowing-upward stratal units are

bounded by chronostratigraphically significant

and facies. These shallowing-upward stratal units are

bounded by chronostratigraphically significant

marine-flooding surfaces and are composed of lami-

marine-flooding surfaces and are composed of lami-

nae, laminasets, beds, and bedsets. Beds, bounded by

practically synchronous bedding surfaces, were used

nae, laminasets, beds, and bedsets. Beds, bounded by

practically synchronous bedding surfaces, were used

as informal time-stratigraphic markers for well-log

as informal time-stratigraphic markers for well-log

correlation (Campbell,

correlation (Campbell, 1967).

This line of research quickly converged with the con-

ceptual models when it became apparent that the

1967).

This line of research quickly converged with the con-

ceptual models

when it became apparent that the

shallowing-upward stratal units and their component

sedimentary layers were the building blocks of the sys-

shallowing-upward stratal units and their component

sedimentary layers were the building blocks of the sys-

tems tracts and sequences. Although shallowing-

tems tracts

and sequences. Although shallowing-

upward units had been called "cycles" by some other

workers (Wilson, 1975;

upward units had been called "cycles" by some other

workers (Wilson, 1975; Goodwin

Goodwin and Anderson,

and Anderson,

1985),these units were called "parasequences" by Van

1985), these units were called"parasequences" by Van

Wagoner (1985). This usage preserved the dictionary

Wagoner (1985). This

usage preserved the dictionary

use of the word "cycle" by Vail et al. (1977)to indicate a

use of the word "cycle" by Vail et al. (1977) to indicate a

time in which a regularly repeated event occurs and

time in which a regularly repeated event occurs and

emphasized the relationship

quence and the sequence.

emphasized the relationship between the parase-

quence and the sequence.

between the parase-

Groups of associated parasequences were observed

Groups of associated parasequences were observed

to stack into retrogradational, progradational, and

to stack into retrogradational, progradational, and

aggradational patterns; these distinct associations of

aggradational patterns; these distinct associations of

parasequences were called "parasequence sets" (Van

parasequences were called "parasequence sets" (Van

Wagoner, 1985;Van Wagoner et al., 1988).Each parase-

Wagoner, 1985; Van Wagoner et al., 1988). Each parase-

quence set approximately corresponded to a systems

quence set approximately corresponded to a systems

tract. In addition, each systems tract generally was

tract. In addition, each systems tract generally was

characterized by a distinct association of facies and by

characterized by a distinct association of facies and by

a position within the sequence.

a position within the sequence.

Recognition of parasequences and parasequence

Recognition of parasequences

and parasequence

sets as the building blocks of the systems tract and the

sets as the building blocks of the systems tract and the

sequence placed them within a chronostratigraphic

sequence placed them within a chronostratigraphic

framework in which their stacking patterns, constitu-

framework in which their stacking patterns, constitu-

ent bedding types, and, to a great extent, their compo-

ent bedding types, and, to a great extent, their compo-

nent depositional environments, were predictable.

nent depositional environments, were predictable.

This enhanced their use for the subsurface correlation

This enhanced their use for the subsurface correlation

of time and facies.

of time and facies.

The concept of the parasequence, or

The concept

of the parasequence, or upward-

upward-

shoaling cycle as it is commonly named in literature,

shoaling cycle as it is commonly named in literature,

dates back at least to Phillips (1836) and includes

dates back at least to Phillips

(1836) and includes

Udden (1912),Weller (1930),Wanless (1950), Duff et al.

Udden (1912), Weller (1930), Wanless (1950), Duff et al.

(1967),Busch (1971, 1974), Wilson (1975), and Einsele

and Seilacher (1982).The chronostratigraphic signifi-

(1967), Busch (1971, 1974), Wilson (1975), and Einsele

and Seilacher (1982). The chronostratigraphic signifi-

cance of the marine-flooding surface bounding a para-

cance of the marine-flooding surface bounding a para-

Previous stratigraphic concepts

Previous stratigraphic concepts

3

3

sequence was pointed out by Wilson

sequence was pointed out by Wilson (1975), who

stated that carbonate cycles are bounded by wide-

(1975), who

stated that carbonate cycles are bounded by wide-

spread transgressive surfaces that may "closely

spread transgressive surfaces that may "closely

approximate time markers and are more useful as such

than the diachronous facies within each cycle." In a

review of work by Sears et al. (1941), Krumbein and

Sloss (1963)pointed out that the transgressive surface

of a progradational-shoreline sandstone approximates

approximate time markers and are more useful as such

than the diachronous facies within each cycle." In a

review of work by Sears et al. (1941), Krumbein and

Sloss (1963) pointed out that the transgressive surface

of a progradational-shoreline sandstone approximates

a time line. Anderson et al. (1984) and Goodwin and

Anderson (1985) also emphasized this importance of

cycles for chronostratigraphy, based on work in the

carbonate Helderberg Group of New York, and they

designated the upward-shoaling carbonate cycle of

Wilson (1975) a PAC, an acronym for Punctuated

Aggradational Cycle.

By 1983, within Exxon, stratigraphic analysis had

evolved beyond parasequence analysis to documenta-

tion of the various stratal expressions of siliciclastic

sequences and systems tracts in well logs, cores, and

outcrops. This represented a major step beyond seis-

mic stratigraphy. Using well logs and cores, a very

a time line. Anderson et al.

(1984) and Goodwin and

Anderson (1985) also emphasized this importance of

cycles for chronostratigraphy, based on work in the

carbonate Helderberg Group of New York, and they

designated the upward-shoaling carbonate cycle of

Wilson

(1975) a PAC, an acronym for Punctuated

Aggradational Cycle.

By 1983, within Exxon, stratigraphic analysis had

evolved beyond parasequence analysis to documenta-

tion of the various stratal expressions of siliciclastic

sequences and systems tracts in well logs, cores, and

outcrops. This represented a major step beyond seis-

mic stratigraphy. Using well logs and cores, a very

high-resolution chronostratigraphic framework of

high-resolution chronostratigraphic framework of

sequence and parasequence boundaries, defined

solely by the relationships of the strata, could be con-

sequence

and parasequence boundaries, defined

solely by the relationships of the strata, could be con-

structed to analyze stratigraphy and facies at the res-

ervoir scale. Integration of the systematic

documentation of siliciclastic sequences, similar

1988), and

advances in carbonate facies (Sarg,

sequence-keyed biostratigraphy

structed to analyze stratigraphy and facies at the res-

ervoir scale. Integration of the systematic

documentation of siliciclastic sequences, similar

advances in carbonate facies (Sarg, 1988), and

(Loutit et al., 1988)

sequence-keyed biostratigraphy (Loutit et al., 1988)

with the methodology of seismic stratigraphy pro-

with the methodology of seismic stratigraphy pro-

duced the framework and methodology for strati-

duced the framework and methodology for strati-

graphic and facies analysis now known as

graphic and facies analysis now known as

sequence

sequence

stratigraphy.

stratigraphy.

As more basins were analyzed with sequence-

As more basins were analyzed with sequence-

stratigraphic techniques two important observations

in many parts of

were

stratigraphic techniques two important observations

made.

were made.

(1) Siliciclastic sequences

(1) Siliciclastic sequences in many parts of

the sedimentary record occur with a 100,000- to

the sedimentary record occur with a 100,000- to

200,000-year frequency. This is much higher than has

200,000-year frequency. This is much higher than has

been observed previously by seismic stratigraphers

(Goldhammer et al., 1987; Van Wagoner andMitchum,

been observed previously by seismic stratigraphers

(Goldhammer et al.,

1987; Van Wagoner and Mitchum,

1989).(2) The lowstand systems tract is the dominant

systems tract preserved in siliciclastic sequences, and

on the shelf, its major component is the incised valley.

1989). (2) The lowstand systems tract is the dominant

systems tract preserved in siliciclastic sequences, and

on the shelf, its major component is the incised valley.

Examples of incised valleys have been cited in the lit-

Examples of incised valleys have been cited in the lit-

erature for many years. Fisk (1944) documented the

erature for many years. Fisk (1944) documented the

extensive incision in the Mississippi valley in response

to the last sea-level fall commencing approximately

27,000 years ago (Williams, 1984).The incised alluvial

extensive incision in the Mississippi valley in response

to the last sea-level fall commencing approximately

27,000 years ago (Williams,

1984). The incised alluvial

valley of the Mississippi is, in places, 260 ft deep and

valley of the Mississippi is, in places, 260 ft deep and

120 mi (193 km) wide (Fisk, 1944). The lower

120 mi (193 km) wide (Fisk, 1944). The lower two-

two-

thirds of the alluvial fill from Cairo, Illinois, to the

present coastline, a distance of approximately 600 mi

thirds of the alluvial

fill from Cairo, Illinois, to the

present coastline, a distance of approximately 600 mi

(963 km), contains gravel and coarse-grained sand.

(963 km), contains gravel and coarse-grained sand.

Using high-resolution seismic data, Suter and Berry-

hill (1985) documented regional incision across the

Using high-resolution seismic data, Suter and Berry-

hill

(1985) documented regional incision across the

continental shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico, also

continental shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico, also

in response to the last sea-level fall. Incised valleys in

in response to the last sea-level fall. Incised valleys in

4 4

The sequence as a tool

The sequence as a tool

the Albian-aged Muddy Sandstone and its strati-

graphic equivalents in the western United States have

been studied extensively (Harms, 1966; Stone, 1972;

Dresser, 1974; Weimer, 1983, 1984, 1988; and Aubrey,

the Albian-aged Muddy Sandstone and its strati-

graphic equivalents in the western United States have

been studied extensively (Harms,

1966; Stone, 1972;

Dresser, 1974; Weimer, 1983, 1984, 1988; and Aubrey,

1989).

1989).

Sequence stratigraphy relates the formation of

incised valleys to relative changes in sea level and, for

Sequence stratigraphy relates the formation of

incised valleys to relative changes in sea level and, for

the first time, places them in a chronostratigraphic

the first time, places them in a chronostratigraphic

context of parasequence and sequence boundaries.

Detailed analysis of sequences in well logs, cores, and

outcrops reveals the widespread occurrence in time

and space of incised valleys within the updip part of

the lowstand systems tract. As a result, the timing and

distribution of valley incision and fill becomes more

predictable. This, in turn, is critical for understanding:

context

of parasequence and sequence boundaries.

Detailed analysis of sequences in well logs, cores, and

outcrops reveals the widespread occurrence in time

and space of incised valleys within the updip part of

the lowstand systems tract. As a result, the timing and

distribution of valley incision and fill becomes more

predictable. This, in turn, is critical for understanding:

(1) variations in type-1 sequence-boundary

(1) variations in type-l sequence-boundary

expression on the shelf;

expression on the shelf;

(2) regional distribution of shallow-marine and

(2) regional distribution of shallow-marine and

nonmarine depositional environments within

each sequence; and

nonmarine depositional environments within

each sequence; and

(3) reservoir distribution within the sequence,

because on the shelf, incised valleys com-

monly contain the best reservoirs within each

(3) reservoir distribution within the sequence,

because on the shelf, incised valleys com-

monly contain the best reservoirs within each

sequence.

sequence.

THE SEQUENCEAS A TOOL

FOR STRATIGRAPHICANALYSIS

THE SEQUENCE AS A TOOL

FOR STRATIGRAPHIC ANALYSIS

Application of sequence-stratigraphic analysis

Application of sequence-stratigraphic analysis

depends on the recognition of a hierarchy of stratal

depends on the recognition of a hierarchy of stratal

units including beds, bedsets, parasequences, parase-

quence sets, and sequences bounded by chronostrati-

graphically significant surfaces of erosion,

units including beds, bedsets, parasequences, parase-

quence sets, and sequences bounded by chronostrati-

graphically significant surfaces of erosion,

nondeposition, or their correlative surfaces. This

method of stratigraphic analysis contrasts with the use

nondeposition, or their correlative surfaces. This

method of stratigraphic analysis contrasts with the use

of transgressive and regressive cycles of strata for

regional correlation of time and facies.

of transgressive and regressive cycles of strata for

regional correlation of time and facies.

Transgressive and regressive cycles have been used

Transgressive and regressive cycles have been used

for regional correlation for at least 50 years (Grabau,

for regional correlation for at least 50 years (Grabau,

1932; Krumbein and Sloss, 1963). Recently, propo-

1932; Krumbein and Sloss, 1963). Recently, propo-

nents of transgressive and regressive cycles, referred

to as T-R units, for regional correlation have included

nents of transgressive and regressive cycles, referred

to as T-R units, for regional correlation have included

Ryer

Ryer

(1983), Busch and Rollins (1984), Busch et al.

(1983), Busch and Rollins (1984), Busch et al.

(1985), and Galloway (1989a).Galloway (1989a)intro-

duced the "genetic stratigraphic sequence," which is

regressive depositional unit bounded by transgressive

(1985), and Galloway (1989a). Galloway (1989a) intro-

duced

the" genetic stratigraphic

sequence;' which is a

a

regressive depositional unit bounded by transgressive

surfaces. Although he did not define it specifically, he

described it as "a package of sediments recording a

surfaces. Although he did not define it specifically, he

described

it as "a package of sediments recording a

significant episode of basin-margin outbuilding and

significant episode of basin-margin outbuilding

and

basin filling,bounded by periods of widespread basin-

basin filling, bounded by periods of widespread basin-

margin flooding."

margin flooding:'

The genetic stratigraphic sequence is based on Fra-

The genetic stratigraphic sequence is based on Fra-

zier's (1974) concept of depositional episodes pat-

zier's (1974) concept of depositional episodes pat-

terned after late Quaternary "sequences" deposited

terned after late Quaternary "sequences" deposited

during high-frequency "episodes" controlled by gla-

during high-frequency "episodes" controlled by gla-

cial cycles. The depositional episodes are bounded by

cial cycles. The depositional episodes are bounded by

"hiatuses" or flooding surfaces formed during sea-

"hiatuses" or flooding surfaces formed during

sea-

level rise or by shifting delta lobes. Galloway (1989b)

level rise or by shifting delta lobes. Galloway (198913)

applied Frazier's (1974) concept to much larger Ceno-

applied Frazier's (1974)concept to much larger Ceno-

zoic units

zoic units of the Gulf of Mexico basin, recognizing

of the Gulf of Mexico basin, recognizing

about

about 14 major continental-margin outbuilding epi-

14 major continental-margin outbuilding epi-

sodes, each of which culminated in a major flooding

sodes, each of which culminated in a major flooding

event. Although Frazier's (1974) depositional episodes

event. Although Frazier's (1974)depositionalepisodes

have frequencies comparable to fourth-order

have frequencies comparable to fourth-order

sequences, Galloway'S (1989b) units average 4 to 5 Ma

sequences, Galloway's

(1989b) units average

4 to 5 Ma

in frequency. They commonly include several third-

in frequency. They commonly include several third-

order sequences as defined by Vail et al. (1977).

order sequences as defined by Vail et al. (1977).

Both T-R cycle analysis and the nearly identical

Both

T-R cycle analysis and the nearly identical

"genetic stratigraphic sequence" analysis rely on the

"genetic stratigraphic sequence" analysis rely on the

transgressive surface at the top of a regressive unit or

transgressive surface at the top of a regressive unit or

the surface of maximum flooding for regional correla-

the surface of maximum flooding for regional correla-

tion. We believe that the sequence boundary is a better

tion. We believe that the sequence boundary is a better

surface for regional stratigraphic analysis than a trans-

surface for regional stratigraphic analysis than a trans-

gressive surface for the following reasons:

gressive surface for the following reasons:

(1) The sequence boundary is a single, wide-

(1) The sequence boundary is a single, wide-

spread surface that separates all of the rocks

spread surface that separates all of the rocks

above from all of the rocks below the bound-

above from all of the rocks below the bound-

ary. Although all points on the sequence

ary. Although all points on

the sequence

boundary do not represent the same duration

boundary do not represent the same duration

of time, one instant of time is common to all

of time, one instant of time is common to all

points. This synchroneity is basinwide and is

interpreted to be global within limits of bio-

stratigraphic dating. For these reasons the

sequence boundary has time-stratigraphic

significance.

points. This synchroneity is basinwide and is

interpreted to be global within limits of bio-

stratigraphic dating. For these reasons the

sequence boundary has time-stratigraphic

significance.

(2) The sequence boundary forms independently

of sediment supply. A rapid relative fall in sea

level coupled with a large supply of sediment

delivered rapidly will result in a sequence

A

(2) The sequence boundary forms independently

of sediment supply. A rapid relative fall in sea

level coupled with a large supply of sediment

delivered rapidly will result in a sequence

boundary strongly marked by truncation.

rapid relative fall in sea level coupled with a

minor supply of sediment delivered slowly

will result in a sequence boundary marked by

widespread subaerial exposure but little trun-

cation. In contrast, transgressions and regres-

sions are strongly controlled by sediment

supply and for that reason may not be syn-

boundary strongly marked by truncation. A

rapid relative fall in sea level coupled with a

minor supply of sediment delivered slowly

will result in a sequence boundary marked by

Widespread subaerial exposure but little trun-

cation. In contrast, transgressions and regres-

sions are strongly controlled by sediment

supply and for that reason may not be syn-

chronous, even within a given basin. For

example, movements of the shoreline are

often due to local differences in sediment sup-

ply around a basin rather than sea-level

changes, and therefore typically are regionally

diachronous.

chronous, even within a given basin. For

example, movements of the shoreline are

often due to local differences in sediment sup-

ply around a basin rather than sea-level

changes, and therefore typically are regionally

diachronous.

(3) There are two major transgressive surfaces

within the sequence: the first flooding surface

forming the upper boundary of the lowstand

systems tract and the maximum-flooding sur-

face associated with the condensed section.

Typically, several other transgressive surfaces,

bounding parasequences within the transgres-

(3) There are two major transgressive surfaces

within the sequence: the first flooding surface

forming the upper boundary of the lowstand

systems tract and the maximum-flooding sur-

face associated with the condensed section.

Typically, several other transgressive surfaces,

bounding parasequences within the transgres-

sive systems tract, occur between these major

sive systems tract, occur between these major

surfaces. All of these surfaces potentially can

surfaces.

All of these surfaces potentially can

be confused in regional correlation, especially

be confused in regional correlation, especially

if the data used to correlate are widely spaced.

if the data used to correlate are widely spaced.

The age of each transgressive surface within a

The age of each transgressive surface within a

sequence at different points in a basin may dif-

sequence at different points in a basin may dif-

fer significantly depending upon variations in

fer significantly depending upon variations in

regional sediment supply.

regional sediment supply.

(4) The sequence boundary commonly is marked

(4) The sequence boundary commonly is marked

by significant regional erosion and

by significant regional erosion

and onlap,

onlap,

which exert a strong control on facies distribu-

which exert a strong control on facies distribu-

tion. Transgressive surfaces are characterized

tion. Transgressive surfaces are characterized

by very slow deposition or nondeposition with

by very slow deposition or nondeposition with

only relatively minor transgressive scour.

only relatively minor transgressive scour.

(5) Systems tracts occur predictably within the

(5) Systems tracts occur predictably within the

sequence and are related to the sequence

sequence

and are related to the sequence

boundary; each systems tract is associated

boundary; each systems tract is associated

with the boundary at some point. This rela-

with the boundary at some point. This rela-

tionship is not true of the transgressive sur-

tionship is not true of the transgressive sur-

faces.

faces.

(6) There is a distinct break in deposition and a

(6) There is a distinct break in deposition and a

basinward shift in facies across the uncon-

basinward shift in facies across the uncon-

formable portion of a type-1 sequence bound-

formable portion of a type-1 sequence bound-

ary, making it a natural surface for separating

ary, making it a natural surface for separating

relatively conformable facies packages above

relatively conformable facies packages above

and below. Commonly, this break occurs

and below. Commonly, this break occurs

within the middle to upper parts of regressive

within the middle to upper parts of regressive

units. If the transgressive surfaces bounding

units.

If the transgressive surfaces bounding

Galloway's (1989a) "genetic stratigraphic

Galloway's

(1989a) "genetic stratigraphic

sequence" are used to subdivide basin stratig-

sequence" are used to subdivide basin stratig-

raphy and the sequence boundaries are over-

raphy and the sequence boundaries are over-

looked, then the basic depositional unit

looked, then the basic depositional unit

contains a potentially major unconformity

contains a potentially major unconformity

within it, making the accurateinterpretation of

within it, making the accurate interpretation of

lateral-faciesrelationships difficult.

lateral-facies relationships difficult.

(7) Recognizing the unconformableportion of the

(7) Recognizing the unconformable portion of the

sequence boundary as part of the hierarchy of

sequence boundary

as part of the hierarchy of

chronostratigraphic stratal surfaces and dis-

chronostratigraphic stratal surfaces and dis-

continuities described in this book has great

continuities described in this book has great

significance in working out

significance in working

out chronostrati-

chronostrati-

graphy and contemporaneity of facies. How-

graphy and contemporaneity of facies. How-

ever, using only facies boundaries, or

ever,

using only facies boundaries, or

subordinating "the stratigraphy of surfaces"

subordinating "the stratigraphy of surfaces"

(Galloway, 1989a) to facies boundaries that

(Galloway,

1989a) to facies boundaries that

commonly transgress geologic time, may lead

commonly transgress geologic time, may lead

to erroneous conclusions about contempora-

to erroneous conclusions about contempora-

neity of facies distribution.

neity of facies distribution.

As will be discussed throughout this book, the

As will be discussed throughout this book, the

sequence, bounded by unconformities or their correla-

sequence, bounded by unconformities or their correla-

tive conformities, is a highly practical stratal unit for

tive conformities,

is a highly practical stratal unit for

regional stratigraphic analysis with

regional stratigraphic analysis with seismic, well log,

seismic, well log,

and biostratigraphicdata, as well as for reservoir-scale

and biostratigraphic data, as well as for reservoir-scale

analysis using well logs, outcrops, and cores. It is most

analysis using well logs, outcrops, and cores.

It is most

completely understood and used at all scales of

completely

understood and used at all scales of

analysis by a synthesis of these data bases.

analysis by

a synthesis of these data bases.

Sequence stratigraphy

Sequence stratigraphy

5

5

SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY

AND THE HIERARCHY

SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY

AND THE HIERARCHY

OF STRATAL UNITS

OF STRATAL UNITS

As already discussed, stratal units from the lamina

to the sequence can be grouped into a hierarchy. Rec-

ognition of these stratal units and their use in correlat-

of sequence

ing time and facies is the essence

stratigraphy. The following discussion builds upward

from the smallest unit in the hierarchy, the lamina, to

the largest unit considered in this book, the sequence.

Each stratal unit in the hierarchy is defined and iden-

tified only by the physical relationships of the strata,

including lateral continuity and geometry of the sur-

faces bounding the units, vertical-stacking patterns,

and lateral geometry of the strata within the units. In

addition, facies and environmental interpretations of

strata on either side of bounding surfaces are critical,

especially for parasequence, parasequence set, and

sequence-boundaryidentification.Thickness, time for

formation, and interpretation of regional or global ori-

gin are not used to define stratal units or to place them

in the hierarchy. In particular, parasequences and

sequences can be identified in well logs, cores, or out-

crops and used to construct a stratigraphicframework

regardless of their interpreted relationship to changes

in eustasy.

Documentation of parasequences, parasequence

sets, and sequences in this book is primarily from Ter-

tiary strata in the northern Gulf of Mexico and Creta-

ceous strata of the basins in the western interior of the

As already discussed, stratal units from the lamina

to the sequence can be grouped into a hierarchy.

Rec-

ognition of these stratal units and their use in correlat-

ing time and facies is the essence of sequence

stratigraphy. The following discussion builds upward

from the smallest unit in the hierarchy, the lamina, to

the largest unit considered in this book, the sequence.

Each stratal unit in the hierarchy is defined and iden-

tified only by the physical relationships of the strata,

including lateral continuity and geometry of the sur-

faces bounding the units, vertical-stacking patterns,

and lateral geometry of the strata within the units. In

addition, facies and environmental interpretations of

strata on either side of bounding surfaces are critical,

especially for parasequence, parasequence set, and

sequence-boundary identification. Thickness, time for

formation, and interpretation of regional or global ori-

gin are not used to define stratal units or to place them

in the hierarchy. In particular, parasequences and

sequences can be identified in well logs, cores, or out-

crops and used to construct a stratigraphic framework

regardless of their interpreted relationship to changes

in eustasy.

Documentation of parasequences, parasequence

sets, and sequences in this book is primarily from Ter-

tiary strata in the northern Gulf of Mexico and Creta-

ceous strata of the basins in the western interior of the

United States. Examples are exclusiveiy of siliciclastic

rocks; however, many of the concepts documented by

these examples can also be applied to carbonate strata

(Sarg, 1988).

United States. Examples are exclUSively of siliciclastic

rocks; however, many of the concepts documented by

these examples can also be applied to carbonate strata

(Sarg,1988).

LAMINA, LAMINASET,

BED, BEDSET

LAMINA, LAMINASET,

BED, BEDSET

Campbell (1967) identified laminae, laminasets,

beds, and bedsets as the components of a sedimentary

body; we recognize these stratal units as the building

blocks of parasequences. General characteristics of

these units are given in Table 1; definitions and more

detailed characteristics are given in Table 2. Figure 1

shows these types of strata fromdelta-frontturbidites

in cores, outcrops, and well logs from the Panther

Tongue of late Santonian age (Fouch et al., 1983) in

east-central Utah. Because treatment of these units is

Campbell (1967) identified laminae, laminasets,

beds, and bedsets as the components of a sedimentary

body; we recognize these stratal units as the building

blocks of parasequences. General characteristics of

these units are given in Table 1; definitions and more

detailed characteristics are given in Table 2. Figure 1

shows these types of strata from delta-front turbidites

in cores, outcrops, and well logs from the Panther

Tongue of late Santonian age (Fouch et aI.,

1983) in

east-central Utah. Because treatment of these units is

not our major thrust, Campbell's (1967) paper is rec-

not

our

major

thrust,

Campbell's

(1967) paper

is rec-

ommended for additional detail.

ommended for additional detail.

The four types of stratalunits listed aboveare geneti-

cally similar; they differ primarily in the interval of

time for formationand in the areal extentof the bound-

The four types of stratal units listed above are geneti-

cally similar; they differ primarily in the interval

of

time for formation and in the areal extent of the bound-

ing surfaces. The surfaces bounding the units arc-

(1)changes in texture, (2) stratal termina-

defined by

tions, and (3) paraconformities (Dunbar and Rogers,

ing surfaces. The surfaces bounding the units are

defined by (1) changes in texture, (2) stratal termina-

tions, and (3) paraconformities (Dunbar and Rogers,

STRATAL

STRATAL

UNITS

UNITS

DEFINITIONS

DEFINITIONS

Stratal Units in Hierarchy: Definitions and Characteristics

Stratal Units in Hierarchy: Definitions and Characteristics

RANGE OF

RANGE OF

THICKNESSES (FEET)

THICKNESSES

(FEETI

TABLEt

TABLE 1

RANGE OF LATERAL

RANGE OF LATERAL

EXTENTS (SQ. MILESI

EXTENTS (SO. MILES1

RANGE OF TIMES FOR

RANGE OF TIMES

FORMATION (YEARS)

FORMATION (YEARS)

FOR

TOOL RESOLUTION

TOOL RESOLUTION

 

1000 100 10

1

INCHES

100001000100 10 1

lo6 105104lo3 10' 10 1

A

A

RELATIVEL Y CONFORMABLE SUCCESSION

RELATIVELY CONFORMABLE SUCCESSION

OF GENETIC ALL Y RELA TEp STRA TA

OF GENETICALLY RELATED STRATA

u

SEQUENCE

SEQUENCE

BOUNDED BY UNCONFORMITIES AND THEIR

BOUNDED BY

UNCONFORMITIES AND THEIR

CORRELA TlVE CONFORMITIES (MITCHUM

CORRELATIVE CONFORMITIES

(MITCHUM

8

4.

rJ)

I-

~I-A-N_D-O-T-H-E-R-S-.-1-9-7-7-'---------t-_f-_-t-_+-_f--+

AND OTHERS

19771

PARA

SEQUENCE

SEQUENCE

PARA-

SET

SET

SUCCESSION OF GENETICALLY RELATED

A A

PARASEQUENCES FORMING A DISTINCTIVE

SUCCESSION OF GENETICALLY RELATED

PARASEQUENCES FORMING A DISTINCTIVE

ST ACKING PATTERN AND COMMONL Y

STACKING PATTERN AND COMMONLY

BOUNDED BY MAJOR MARINE-FLOODING

BOUNDED

BY MAJOR MARINE FLOODING

SURFACES AND THEIR CORRELATIVE SUR-

SURFACES AND THEIR CORRELATIVE SUR

FACES_ FACES

PARA

SEQUENCE

PARA

SEQUENCE

RELA TIVEL Y CONFORMABLE SUCCESSION

A A

OF GENETIC ALL Y RELA TED BEDS OR

RELATIVELY CONFORMABLE SUCCESSION

OF GENETICALLY RELATED BEDS OR

BEDSETS

BEDSETS BOUNDED BY MARINE FLOODING

BOUNDED BY MARINE-FLOODING

SURFACES AND THEIR CORRELATIVE SUR-

SURFACES AND THEIR CORRELATIVE SUR

FACES FACES

t--t-

t---i_+-t_--if-t---i_+---i_-t_+--i

+_0

2

« II: d

o

9a

a

J

X

::

w

BEDSET

BEDSET

SEE TABLE TWO

SEE TABLE TWO

<.:l 0

o J S

1-----1r-------------------+-+--t--t-+-t---+-t---+-+-II-t--+-+-+-+-+-+_-t-+--t-------:j

I

II

2,

BED

aED

SEE TABLE TWO

SEE TABLE TWO

~

LAMINA-

SET

-

LAMINA

LAMINA

SEE TABLE TWO

SEE TABLE TWO

SEE TABLE TWO

SEE TABLE

TWO

I

I

II

II

a

a

0

g

a:

0

u

I-

l-

?

=,

0.

0

P

0

Z

z

4

«

LU

w

a

a:.

0

0

u U

-

STRATAL

STRATAl

UNIT

UNIT

BEDSET

BEDSET

BED

BED

LAMINASET

LAMINA

LAMINA

Detailed Characteristics of Lamina, Laminaset, Bed, and Bedset (from Campbell, 1967)

Detailed Characteristics of Lamina, Laminaset, Bed, and Bedset (from Campbell, 1967)

DEFINITION

DEFINITION

CHARACTERISTICS

CHARACTERISTICS

OF CONSTITUENT

OF CONSTITUENT

STRATAL UNITS

STRATAL UNITS

TABLE 2

TABLE 2

DEPOSITIONAL

DEPOSITIONAL

PROCESSES

PROCESSES

CHARACTERISTICS OF

BOUNDING SURFACES

CHARACTERISTICS OF

BOUNDING SURFACES

A RELATIVELY CONFORMABLE

A RELATIVELY CONFORMABLE

SUCCESSION OF GENETICALLY

SUCCESSION

OF GENETICALLY

RELATED BEDS BOUNDED BY

RELA TED BEDS BOUNDED

BY

SURFACES

SURFACES)

SURFACES (CALLED BEDSET

SURFACES) OF EROSION. NON-

'CALLED BEDSET

OF EROSION, NON-

DEPOSITION. OR THEIR CORREL-

DEPOSITION, OR THEIR CORREL-

ATlVE

A TlVE

CONFORMITIES

CONFORMITIES

BEDS ABOVE AND BELOW

BEDS ABOVE

AND BELOW

BEDSET ALWAYS DIFFER IN

BEDSET ALWAYS DIFFER IN

COMPOSITION. TEXTURE. OR

COMPOSITION, TEXTURE, OR

SEDIMENTARY STRUCTURE

SEDIMENTARY

STRUCTURE

FROM THOSE COMPOSING

FROM THOSE COMPOSING

THE BEDSET

THE

BEDSET

EPISODIC

EPISODIC OR PERIODIC.

(SAME AS BED BELOW)

OR PERIODIC.

(SAME AS BED BELOW)

(SAME

(SAME AS BED BELOW)

PLUS

AS BED BELOW)

PLUS

• BED SETS AND

BEDSETS AND BEDSET SURFACES FORM

BEDSET SURFACES FORM

OVER A LONGER PERIOD

OVER A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME THAN

OF TIME THAN

BEDS

BEDS

COMMONLY HAVE A GREATER LATERAL

• COMMONLY HAVE A GREATER LATERAL

EXTENT THAN BEDDING SURFACES

EXTENT THAN BEDDING SURFACES

A RELATIVELY CONFORMABLE

A

RELA TlVEL Y

CONFORMABLE

SUCCESSION OF GENETICALLY

SUCCESSION OF GENETICALLY

RELATED LAMINAE OR

RELA TED LAMINAE

OR LAMINA-

LAMINA-

SETS BOUNDED BY SURFACES

SETS BOUNDED

BY SURFACES

(CALLED BEDDING SURFACESI

(CALLED BEDDING

SURFACES1 OF

OF

EROSION. NON-DEPOSITION OR

EROSION, NON-DEPOSITION

OR

THEIR CORRELATIVE CONFORMI-

THEIR CORRELATIVE CONFORMI·

TIES TIES

NOT ALL BEDS CONTAIN

NOT ALL BEDS CONTAIN

LAMINASETS

LAMINASETS

EPISODIC OR PERIODIC

EPISODIC OR PERIODIC

EPISODIC DEPOSITION INCLUDES

DEPOSITION FROM STORMS.

EPISODIC DEPOSITION INCLUDES

DEPOSITION FROM STORMS,

FLOODS, DEBRIS FLOWS, TUR-

FLOODS.

DEBRIS FLOWS. TUR-

BIDITY CURRENTS

BIDITY CURRENTS

PERIODIC DEPOSITION INCLUDES

PERIODIC DEPOSITION INCLUDES

DEPOSITION FROM SEASONAL

OR CLIMATIC CHANGES

DEPOSITION FROM SEASONAL

OR CLIMATIC CHANGES

FORM RAPIDLY, MINUTES TO YEARS

• FORM RAPIDLY, MINUTES TO YEARS

SEPARATE ALL YOUNGER STRATA FROM

• SEPARATE ALL YOUNGER STRATA FROM

ALL OLDER

ALL OLDER STRATA OVER THE EXTENT OF

STRATA OVER THE EXTENT OF

THE SURFACES

THE SURFACES

FACIES CHANGES ARE BOUNDED

FACIES CHANGES ARE BOUNDED BY BED-

BY BED-

DING SURFACES

DING

SURFACES

USEFUL FOR CHRONOSTRATIGRAPHY

USEFUL

UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

FOR CHRONOSTRATIGRAPHY

UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

TlME REPRESENTED BY BEDDING SURFACES

TIME REPRESENTED

BY BEDDING SURFACES

PROBABLY GREATER THAN TIME REPRE-

PROBABLY GREATER THAN TlME REPRE-

SENTED BY BEDS

SENTED BY BEDS

AREAL EXTENTS VARY WIDELY FROM

AREAL EXTENTS VARY WIDELY FROM

SQUARE

SQUARE FEET TO 1000's SQUARE MILES

FEET TO 1000's SQUARE MILES

A RELATIVELY CONFORMABLE

A

RELA TlVEL Y

CONFORMABLE

SUCCESSION OF GENETICALLY

SUCCESSION

OF

GENETICALL Y

RELATED LAMINAE BOUNDED BY

RELA TED

LAMINAE BOUNDED BY

SURFAC~S(CALLED LAMINASET

SURFACES (CALLED

LAMINASET

SURFACE) OF EROSION. NON-

DEPOSITION OR THEIR CORRELA.

SURFACEI OF EROSION. NON-

DEPOSITION

OR THEIR CORRELA·

TlVE

TIVE CONFORMITIES

CONFORMITIES

CONSISTS OF A GROUP OR

CONSISTS

OF

A

GROUP OR

SET OF CONFORMABLE

SET

OF CONFORMABLE

LAMINAE THAT COMPOSE

LAMINAE THAT COMPOSE

DISTINCTIVE STRUCTURES

DISTINCTIVE STRUCTURES

IN A BED

IN A

BED

EPISODIC. COMMONLY FOUND

EPISODIC, COMMONLY FOUND

IN WAVE- OR CURRENT-RIPPLED

BEDS. TURBIDITES, WAVE-

RIPPLED INTERVALS IN HUM-

IN WAVE· OR CURRENT-RIPPLED

BEDS, TURBIDITES, WAVE-

RIPPLED INTERVALS IN HUM-

MOCKY

BEDSETS, OR CROSS

BEDS AS REVERSE FLOW RIP-

PLES OR RIPPLED TOES OF

MOCKY BEDSETS, OR CROSS

BEDS AS REVERSE FLOW RIP-

PLES OR RIPPLED TOES OF

FORESETS

FORESETS

FORM RAPIDLY. MINUTES TO DAYS.

FORM RAPIDLY, MINUTES TO

DAYS.

SMALLER AREAL EXTENT THAN ENCOM-

SMALLER AREAL EXTENT THAN ENCOM-

PASSING BED

PASSING BED

THE SMALLEST MEGASCOPIC

THE

SMALLEST MEGASCOPIC

LAYER

LAYER

UNIFORM IN COMPOSITION/

UNIFORM

IN COMPOSITIONI

TEXTURE

TEXTURE

NEVER INTERNALLY

NEVER INTERNALLY

LAYERED

LAYERED

EPISODIC

EPISODIC

FORMS VERY RAPIDLY. MINUTES TO

FORMS VERY RAPIDLY, MINUTES TO

HOURS

HOURS

SMALLER AREAL EXTENT THAN ENCOM-

SMALLER AREAL EXTENT THAN ENCOM-

PASSING BED

PASSING BED

8

8

Parasequence

Parasequence

1957) marked by burrow, root, or soil zones. Figure 2

illustrates these criteria at the scale of the bed. The

1957) marked by burrow, root, or soil zones. Figure 2

illustrates these criteria at the scale of the bed. The

surfaces are slightly erosionalto nondeposi-

tional and separate younger from older strata. The

lateralcontinuity of the bounding surfaces varies from

square inches for some laminasets to thousands of

square miles for some beds or bedsets. The surfaces

form relatively rapidly, ranging from seconds to thou-

sands of years, and so are essentially synchronous

over their areal extents (Campbell, 1967).In addition,

the time interval represented by the surfaces bound-

ing these layers probably is much greater than the time

interval represented by the layers themselves. For all

of these reasons, beds and bedsets commonly can be

used for chronostratigraphic correlation, over wide

areas in many depositional settings. Closely spaced

induction logs (0.5 to 2 mi or

0.8 to 3 km apart, espe-

cially in marine-shale or mudstone sections) or contin-

uous outcrops provide the most detailed data for a

time-stratigraphicanalysisbased on bed orbedset sur-

faces.

bounding

bounding surfaces are slightly erosional to nondeposi-

tional and separate younger from older strata. The

lateral continuity of the bounding surfaces varies from

square inches for some laminasets to thousands of

square miles for some beds or bedsets. The surfaces

form relatively rapidly, ranging from seconds to thou-

sands of years, and so are essentially synchronous

over their areal extents (Campbell, 1967). In addition,

the time interval represented by the surfaces bound-

ing these layers probably is much greater than the time

interval represented by the layers themselves. For all

of these reasons, beds and bedsets commonly can be

used for chronostratigraphic correlation, over wide

areas in many depositional settings. Closely spaced

induction logs (0.5 to 2 mi or 0.8 to 3 km apart, espe-

cially in marine-shale or mudstone sections) or contin-

uous outcrops provide the most detailed data for a

time-stratigraphic analysis based on bed or bedset sur-

faces.

PARASEQUENCE

PARASEQUENCE

Scope of Observations

Scope of Observations

Parasequenceshave been identifiedin coastal-plain,

deltaic, beach, tidal, estuarine, and shelf environ-

Parasequences have been identified in coastal-plain,

deltaic, beach, tidal, estuarine, and shelf environ-

ments (Van Wagoner, 1985). It is difficult to identify

parasequences in

marginal-marine rocks are absent, and in slope or

basinal sections,which are deposited too far below sea

level to be influenced by an increase in water depth.

The generalconceptspresented here apply to all of the

depositionalenvironments mentioned above in which

parasequences have been recognized; the following

discussion illustrates deltaic and beach parasequences

because these are common in most basins.

ments (Van Wagoner, 1985). It is difficult to identify

parasequences

fluvial sections where marine or

in fluvial sections where marine or

marginal-marine rocks are absent, and in slope or

basinal sections, which are deposited too far below sea

level to be influenced by an increase in water depth.

The general concepts presented here apply to all of the

depositional environments mentioned above in which

parasequences have been recognized; the following

discussion illustrates deltaic and beach parasequences

because these are common in most basins.

Definitions

Definitions

We will use the following terms in the described con-

We will use the following terms in the described con-

texts:

texts:

Parasequence: A relatively conformable succession of

Parasequence: A relatively conformable succession of

genetically related beds or bedsets bounded by

marine-flooding surfaces or their correlative surfaces.

In special positions within the sequence, parase-

quences may be bounded either above or below by

sequence boundaries.

Marine-Flooding Marine-Flooding Surface: Surface: A A surface surface separating separating youn- youn-

sequence boundaries.

quences may be bounded either above or below by

In special positions within the sequence, parase-

marine-flooding surfaces or their correlative surfaces.

genetically related beds or bedsets bounded by

ger from older strata across which there is evidence of

an abrupt increase in water depth. This deepening

commonly is accompanied by minor submarine ero-

sion or nondeposition (but not by subaerial erosion

due to stream rejuvenation or a basinward shift in

facies), with a minor hiatus indicated. The marine-

ger from older strata across which there is evidence of

an abrupt increase in water depth. This deepening

commonly is accompanied by minor submarine ero-

sion or nondeposition (but not by subaerial erosion

due to stream rejuvenation or a basinward shift in

facies), with a minor hiatus indicated. The marine-

floodingsurfacehas a correlative surfacein the coastal

plain and a correlative surface on the shelf.

plain and a correlative surface on the shelf.

flooding surface has a correlative surface in the coastal

Delta: A genetically related succession of strata

Delta: A

genetically related succession of strata

deposited at the mouth of a river, causing the coastline

to bulge into a standing body of water. The delta can be

subdivided into delta-plain and distributary-channel

subenvironments dominated by unidirectional, fluvial

processes; and stream-mouth bar, delta-front, and

prodelta subenvironments dominated by unidirec-

subenviron-

tional or bidirectional processes. The

ments of the delta are interpreted from associations of

beds and

bedsets, sandstonelshale ratios, and

deposited at the mouth of a river, causing the coastline

to bulge into a standing body of water. The delta can be

subdivided into delta-plain and distributary-channel

subenvironments dominated by unidirectional, fluvial

processes; and stream-mouth bar, delta-front, and

prodelta subenvironments dominated by unidirec-

tional or bidirectional processes. The subenviron-

ments of the delta are interpreted from associations of

beds and bedsets, sandstone/shale ratios, and

sandstone-body geometry.

genetically related succession of strata

dominated by wave and current processes and depos-

ited as a ribbon of sediment along a coastline of a

standing body of water. The beach can be subdivided

into backshore, foreshore, upper-shoreface, and

lower-shoreface subenvironments based on associa-

sandstone-body geometry.

Beach: A

Beach: A genetically related succession of strata

dominated by wave and current processes and depos-

ited as a ribbon of sediment along a coastline of a

standing body of water. The beach can be subdivided

into backshore, foreshore, upper-shoreface, and

lower-shoreface subenvironments based on associa-

tions of beds

tions of beds and bedsets, ichnofossil assemblages,

and sandstonelshale ratios.

and bedsets, ichnofossil assemblages,

and sandstone/shale ratios.

Characteristics

Characteristics

Parasequence characteristics are summarized in

Table 1.Most siliciclasticparasequences are prograda-

tional, i.e., the distal toes of successively younger

sandstone bedsets were deposited progressively far-

ther basinward. This depositionalpattern results in an

upward-shoaling association of facies in which youn-

ger bedsets were deposited in progressively shallower

water. Some siliciclastic, and most carbonate, parase-

quences are aggradationaland also shoal upward.

The schematic well-log and stratal characteristics of

Parasequence characteristics are summarized in

Table 1. Most siliciclastic parasequences are prograda-

tional, i.e., the distal toes of successively younger

sandstone bedsets were deposited progressively far-

ther basinward. This depositional pattern results in an

upward-shoaling association of facies in which youn-

ger bedsets were deposited in progressively shallower

water. Some siliciclastic,

and most carbonate, parase-

quences are aggradational and also shoal upward.

The schematic well-log and stratal characteristics of

upward-coarsening and upward-fining parase-

quences are shown in Figure 3. In the typical upward-

coarsening parasequence (Figures

thicken, sandstones coarsen, and the sandstone1

mudstone ratio increases upward. In the upward-

fining parasequence (Figure

sandstones become finer grained (commonly culmi-

nating in mudstones and coals), and the sandstone1

mudstone ratio decreases upward.

The vertical-facies associations within both the

upward-coarsening and upward-fining parase-

quences are interpreted to record a gradual decrease in

water depth. Evidence of an abrupt decrease in water

depth, such as foreshore bedsets lying sharply on

lower-shoreface

upward-coarsening and upward-fining parase-

quences are shown in Figure 3. In the typical upward-

coarsening parasequence (Figures 3A-3C), bedsets

thicken, sandstones coarsen, and the sandstone/

mudstone ratio increases upward. In the upward-

3D), bedsets thin,

fining parasequence (Figure 3D), bedsets thin,

sandstones become finer grained (commonly culmi-

nating in mudstones and coals), and the sandstone/

mudstone ratio decreases upward.

The vertical-facies associations within both the

upward-coarsening and upward-fining parase-

quences are interpreted to record a gradual decrease in

water depth. Evidence of an abrupt decrease in water

depth, such as foreshore bedsets lying sharply

on

lower-shoreface bedsets, has not been observed

within parasequences. Also, vertical-facies associa-

tions indicating a gradual increase in water depth have

bedsets, has not been observed

within parasequences. Also, vertical-facies associa-

tions indicatinga gradual increasein water depth have

3A-3C), bedsets

not been observed within parasequences. Ifindividual

not been observedwithin parasequences. If individual

"deepening-upward" parasequences do exist, they

"deepening-upward" parasequences do exist, they

Figure l-Bedset, bed, laminaset, lamina characteristics

Figure 1-Bedset,

bed, laminaset, lamina characteristics

and relationships.

and relationships.

r

0- A!'( U~ITS o '" Parasequence 9 ,0 BEDDING ~ ;; IN , ~ COAE
0-
A!'( U~ITS
o
'"
Parasequence
9
,0
BEDDING
~
;;
IN
,
~
COAE
::l: 0
WITHIN EACH PARASeQUENCE:
GR
API UNITS
0
PARASEQUENCE
SANDSTONE BEDSET$ AND BEDS THICKEN UPWARD
eOUNDA,AYi
SANDSTONEIMUDSTONE RATIO INCREASES UPWARD
WlTHlN EACH PARASEQUENCE:
GRAIN SIZE INCREASES UPWARD
SANDSTONE
BEDSETS AND BEDS THICKEN UPWARD
LAMINAE GEOMETRY BECOME STEEPER UPWARD ON GENERALI
SANDSTONEIMUDSTONE RATIO INCREASES UPWARD
BIOTURBATION DECREAses U~AAD TO THE PARASEQUENCE
BOUNDARY
GRAIN
SlZE INCREASES UPWARD
FACIES WITHIN EACH PARASEOUENce SHOAL UPWARD
LAMINAE GEOMETRY BECOME STEEPER UPWARD
IIN GENERAL1
BIOTURBATION DECREASES UPWARD TO THE PARASEOUENCE
PARASEQUENCE
BOUNDARY MARKED BY:
BOUNDARY
ABRUPT CHANGE IN LITHOLOGY FROM SANDSTONE BELOW
FACIES WlTHlN EACH PARASEOUENCE SHOAL UPWARD
THE BOUNDARY TO MUDSTONE OR SILTSTONE ABove THE
BOUNDARY
PARASEQUENCE BOUNDARY MARKED BY:
• ABRUPT DECREASE IN BED THICKNESS
ABRUPT CHANGE IN LITHOLOGY FROM SANDSTONE BELOW
• POSSIBLE MINOR TRUNCATION OF UNDERLYING LAMINAE
THE BOUNDARY TO
MUDSTONE OR SILTSTONE ABOVE THE
BOUNDARY
HORIZON OF BIOTURBATION; BIOTURBATION INTENSITY
ABRUPT DECREASE IN BED THICKNESS
DIMINISHES DOWNWARD
POSSIBLE MINOR TRUNCATION OF UNDERLYING LAMINAE
o
GLAUCONITE, PHOSPHORITE, SHELL HASH, ORGANIC· RICH
HORIZON OF BIOTURBATION; BIOTURBATION INTENSITY
SHALE, SHALE PEBBLES
SANDSTONE
DIMINISHES DOWNWARD
ABRUPT DEEPENING IN DEPOSITIONAL
ENVIRONMtNT ACROSS
GLAUCONITE, PHOSPHORITE, SHELL HASH, ORGANIC-RICH
o
THE BOUNDARY
SHALE. SHALE PEBBLES
MUDSTONE
SANDSTONE
ABRUPT DEEPENING IN DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENT ACROSS
THE BOUNDARY
~
BURROWS AND A VESTIGE OF
MUDSTONE
TROUGH·CROSS
~
~
PLANAR BEDDING
HUMMOCKY BEDDlriG
~
.;;.;:
A WAVE·RIPPLW SANDSTONE
BEDDING
~
~v
BED
Isl
TROUGH-CROSS
Y~~;,;::;;:;;:~~~
FS _ FORESHORE; USF _ UPPER SHOREFACE: LSF _ LOWER SI-fOREFACE; O,LSF _ DISTAL LOWER SHOREFACE: SH •
PLANAR BEDDING
HUMMOCKY BEDDING
SHELF
BEDDING
BED
Figure 3A-Stratal characteristics of an upward-eoarsening parasequence. This type of parasequence is interpreted to
FS
= FORESHORE. USF = UPPER SHOREFACE. LSF = LOWER SHOREFACE. D LSF = DISTAL LOWER SHOREFACE; SH = SHELF
form in a beach environment on a sandy, wave- or fluvial-dominated shoreline.
Figure 3A-Stratal
characteristics of an upward-coarsening parasequence. This type of parasequence is interpreted to
form in a beach environment on a sandy, wave- or fluvial-dominated shoreline.
'"
API UNITS
,
,.
0
'"
z
·0
API UNITS
o.
0
I0 is
"<
BEDDING
~~
g
5
BEDDING
2
;
ffi~
id
?
52
"
IN
Oz
,"
"
$2
CORE
WITHIN EACH PARASEOUENCE:
sg
CORE
>O
WITHIN EACH PARASEQUENCE:
PAAASEQUENCE
,
BOUNDARY.,
• •
v
,
v
v
SANDSTONE BEDS OR BEOSETS THICKEN UPWARD
V
SANDSTONE BEDS OR
BEDSETS THICKEN UPWARD
V
V
,
~ .-;:u v~"<:
,
.
"
.
SANDSTONE/MUDSTONE RATIO INCREASES UPWARD
SANDSTONEIMUDSTONE RATIO INCREASES UPWARD
0
GRAIN
SlZE INCREASES UPWARD
GRAIN SIZE INCREASES
UPWARD
LAMINAE GEOMETRY BECOME STEEPER UPWARD
LAMINAE GEOMETRY BECOME STEEPER UPWARD
BIOTURBATION INCREASES UPWARD TO THE PARASEQUENCE
BIOTURBATION INCREASES UPWARD TO THE PARASEOUENCE
BOUNDARY
BOUNDARY
FACIES WlTHlN THE PARASEOUENCE SHOAL UPWARD
FACIES WITHIN THE PARASEQUENCE SHOAL UPWARD
PARASEQUENCE BOUNDARY MARKED BY:
ABRUPT CHANGE IN LITHOLOGY FROM SANDSTONE BELOW TO
PARASEQUENCE BOUNDARY MARKED BY:
MUDSTONE
ABOVE
ABRUPT CHANGE IN LITHOLOGY FROM SANDSTONE BELOW TO
ABRUPT DECREASE IN BED THICKNESS
MUDSTONE ABOVE
POSSIBLE SLIGHT TRUNCATION OF UNDERLYING LAMINAE
ABRUPT DECREASE IN
BED THICKNESS
HORIZON OF BIOTURBATION, BURROWING INTENSITY
DECREASES DOWNWARD
POSSIBLE SLIGHT TRUNCATION OF UNDERLYING LAMINAE
GLAUCONITE. SHELL HASH, PHOSPHORITE. OR ORGANIC-RICH
HORIZON OF BIOTURBATION; BURROWING INTENSITY
SHALE
DECREASES
DOWNWARD
SANDSTONE
ABRUPT DEEPENING IN DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENT ACROSS
GLAUCONITE, SHELL HASH, PHOSPHORITE. OR ORGANIC·RICH
THE BOUNDARY
o
SHALE
MUDSTONE
SANDSTONE
ABRUPT DEEPENING IN DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENT ACROSS
CURRENT-RIPPLE LAMINAE
THE
BOUNDARY
TROUGH
o
MUDSTONE
OSMB = OUTER STEAM-MOUTH BAR. DF = DELTA FRONT. PRO D = PRO DELTA. SH = SHELF
CURRENT_RIPPLE LAMIN"'E I
Figure 3B-Stratal
characteristicsof an upward-coarsening parasequence. This type of parasequence is interpretedto
F71
TROUGH-
BURROWS
~
~
H
PLANAR LAMINAE
TURBIDITE
c:::J
form in a deltaic environment on a sandy, fluvial- or wave-dominated shoreline.
CROSS. BEDS
WAVE-RIPPLED LAMINAE
I-fOMOGENEOUS
OSMB _ OUTER STEAM-MOUTH BAR. DF •
DELTA FRONT. PAD 0 •
PAD DELTA. SH •
SHELF
Figure 3D-Stratal characteristics of an upward-coarsening parasequence. This type of parasequence is interpreted to
form in a deltaic environment on a sandy, fluvial- or wave-dominated shoreline.

venation, downward shift in coastal onlap, or onlap of

overlying strata; it may be marked by local erosion due

venation, downward shift in coastal onlap, or onlap of

overlying strata; it may be marked by local erosion due

to fluvial processes and local evidence

to

fluvial processes and local evidence of subaerial

of subaerial

exposure such as soil or root horizons normally found

in coastal-plain deposits. The correlative surface on

exposure such as soil or root horizons normally found

in coastal-plain deposits. The correlative surface

on

the shelf is a conformable surface with no significant

hiatus indicated and is marked by thin pelagic or hemi-

pelagic deposits. These deposits include thin carbon-

ates, organic-rich mudstones, glauconites, and

volcanic ashes indicating terrigenous-sediment star-

vation. Strata across correlative surfaces usually do

not indicate a change in water depth; commonly the

correlative surfaces in

the shelf is a conformable surface with no significant

hiatus indicated and is marked by thin pelagic or hemi-

pelagic deposits. These deposits include thin carbon-

ates,

organic-rich mudstones,

glauconites, and

volcanic ashes indicating terrigenous-sediment star-

vation. Strata across correlative surfaces usually do

not indicate a change in water depth; commonly the

correlative surfaces in the coastal plain or on the shelf

identified only

can be identified only by correlating updip or downdip

from a marine-flooding surface. In even deeper-water

the coastal plain or on the shelf

can be

by correlating updip or downdip

from a marine-flooding surface. In even deeper-water

environments, such as the slope or basin floor, parase-

quence boundaries may also be unrecognizable.

environments, such as the slope or basin floor, parase-

quence boundaries may also be unrecognizable.

The characteristicsof parasequence boundaries sug-

gest that they form in response to an abrupt increase in

The characteristics of parasequence boundaries sug-

gest that they form in response to an abrupt increase in

water depth that is sufficiently rapid to overcome

water

depth that is sufficiently rapid to overcome

deposition. The stages of parasequence-boundaryfor-

mation are simplisticallyillustrated in Figure

deposition. The stages of parasequence-boundary for-

mation are simplistically illustrated in Figure 4.

4.

In two special cases, shown in Figure 5, parase-

In two special cases, shown in Figure 5, parase-

quences may be bounded either above or below by

quences may be bounded either above or below by

In the first case (Figure5, Exam-

ple I), a sequenceboundary truncates a parasequence

sequence boundaries.

sequence boundaries. In the first case (Figure 5, Exam-

ple 1), a sequence boundary truncates a parasequence

in the underlying transgressive systems tract and

in the underlying transgressive systems tract

and

erodes into lower-shoreface sandstones (well A) and

marine mudstones (wellB). Subsequent deposition of

a lowstand-shoreline parasequence on top of the

erodes into lower-shoreface sandstones (well A) and

marine mudstones (well B). Subsequent deposition of

a lowstand-shoreline parasequence

on top of the

sequence boundary results in (1) a younger parase-

quence bounded above by a marine-flooding surface

sequence boundary results in (1) a younger parase-

quence bounded above by a marine-flooding surface

and below by a sequence boundary, and (2) an older

and below by a sequence boundary, and (2) an older

parasequence bounded below by a marine-flooding

above by an erosional sequenceboundary.

surface and

parasequence bounded below by a marine-flooding

surface and above by an erosional sequence boundary.

The correct parasequence interpretation in Example 1,

The correct parasequence interpretation in Example 1,

based on recognition of the sequenceboundary, is con-

based on recognition of the sequence boundary, is con-

trasted in Figure 5 with the incorrect parasequence

interpretation that results if the sequence boundary is

trasted in Figure

interpretation that results

5 with the incorrect parasequence

if the sequence boundary is

not identified.

not identified.

In the second case (Figure 5, Example 2) the

In

the second case (Figure 5, Example 2) the

sequence boundary in well 2, expressed as a surface of

subaerial exposure, coincides with

surface.This juxtaposition of surfacesresults in a para-

a marine-flooding

sequence boundary in well 2, expressed as a surface of

subaerial exposure, coincides with a marine-flooding

surface. This juxtaposition of surfaces results in a para-

sequencebounded aboveby a sequenceboundary and

sequence bounded above by a sequence boundary and

below by a marine-flooding surface. There are three

below by a marine-flooding surface. There are three

coincident surfaces at the top of the youngest parase-

coincident surfaces at the top of the youngest parase-

marine-flooding surface origi-

nally bounding the parasequence, probably formed at

quence in we11 2: (1) the

quence in well 2: (1) the marine-flooding surface origi-

nally bounding the parasequence, probably formed at

the end of the highstand, (2) the sequence boundary,

expressed as a subaerial exposure surface, and (3) the

last marine-flooding surface formed during the

level rise that terminated the lowstand.

Parasequence boundaries, within a framework of

the end of the highstand, (2) the sequence boundary,

expressed as a subaerial exposure surface, and (3) the

last marine-flooding surface formed during the sea-

sea-

level rise that terminated the lowstand.

Parasequence boundaries, within a framework of

regional sequence boundaries, are the best surfaces to

regional sequence boundaries, are the best surfaces to

use for local correlation of time and facies from logs and

use for localcorrelationof time and facies fromlogs and

cores, and as surfaceson which paleogeographic maps

cores, and as surfaces on which paleogeographic maps

Vertical facies relationships

Vertical facies relationships

13

13

can be made, for several reasons. (1) Parasequence

can be made, for several reasons. (1) Parasequence

boundaries are easily recognizable surfaces that sepa-

rate olderbeds from younger beds. (2)The boundaries

boundaries are easily recognizable surfaces that sepa-

rate older beds from younger beds. (2) The boundaries

form rapidly (similar observations have been made by

form

rapidly

(similarobservations have

been made by

other authors, notably Wilson,

and Anderson,

other authors, notably Wilson, 1975; and

and Anderson, 1985), probably within hundreds of

1975; and Goodwin

Goodwin

1985), probably within hundreds of

years to thousands of years, and approximate time

years to thousands of years, and approximate time

markers useful for chronostratigraphy (Sears et al.,

markers useful for chronostratigraphy (Sears et al.,

1941; Krumbein and Sloss, 1963; Wilson, 1975;

1941;

Krumbein and Sloss, 1963; Wilson, 1975;

Goodwin and Anderson, 1985). (3) Parasequence

Goodwin

and Anderson, 1985). (3) Parasequence

boundaries bound genetically related assemblages of

facies, providing an essential framework for facies

boundaries bound genetically related assemblages of

facies, providing an essential framework for facies

interpretation and correlation on well-log cross sec-

commonly

tions within the

interpretation and correlation on well-log cross sec-

tions within the sequence.

sequence. (4) Finally, they

(4) Finally, they commonly

are areallyextensiveenough for local subsurfacecorre-

are areally extensive enough for local subsurface corre-

lation within a basin. However, parasequence bound-

lation within a basin. However, parasequence bound-

aries usually cannot be easily correlated regionally

with widely spaced well control. For this reason, and

because parasequence distribution is very sensitive to

aries usually cannot be easily correlated regionally

with widely spaced well control. For this reason, and

because parasequence distribution is very sensitive to

sediment supply, parasequence boundaries usually

are not good surfaces for regional correlation of time

and facies.

Vertical Facies Relationships

sediment supply, parasequence boundaries usually

are not good surfaces for regional correlation of time

and facies.

Vertical Facies Relationships

in Parasequences

in Parasequences

Well-exposed outcrops in the Blackhawk Formation

Well-exposed outcrops in the Blackhawk Formation

of east-centralUtah were studied to document the ver-

of east-central Utah were studied to document the ver-

tical and lateral facies relationships in parasequences

tical and lateral facies relationships in parasequences

as a guide for subsurfacecorrelation. These exposures

as a guide for subsurface correlation. These exposures

also have been studied by Spieker

also have

been studied by Spieker (1949), Young

(1949), Young

(1955),Balsely and Horne (1980),Kamola and Howard

(1955), Balsely and Horne (1980), Kamola and Howard

(1985), and Swift et al. (1987). To relate outcrop obser-

(1985), and

Swift et al. (1987).To relate outcrop obser-

vations of parasequences to subsurface expression,

vations of parasequences to subsurface expression,

three wells were drilled on the outcrop by Exxon Pro-

three wells were drilled on the outcrop by Exxon Pro-

duction Research Company in 1982. Each well was

duction Research Company in

1982. Each well was

cored and logged continuouslywith a suite of conven-

cored and logged continuously with a suite of conven-

tional electric- and nuclear-logging tools. The vertical

tional electric- and nuclear-logging tools. The vertical

facies relationships of parasequences from the Late

facies relationships

of parasequences from the Late

Cretaceous age (Campanian) Blackhawk Formation

Cretaceous age (Campanian) Blackhawk Formation

are shown in Figure 6 in outcrop, core, and well log,

are shown in Figure 6 in outcrop, core, and well log,

the latter from one of the nearby 1982wells. Each para-

the latter from one of the nearby 1982 wells. Each para-

sequence on the log is marked by an upward decrease

sequence on the log is marked by an upward decrease

in gamma-ray response, indicating an upward

in gamma-ray response, indicating an upward

increase in the sandstone/mudstone ratio within the

increase in the sandstone/mudstone ratio within the

parasequence and generally an upward increase in the

parasequence and generally an upward increase in the

sandstone bed or bedset thickness. This vertical pat-

sandstone bed or bedset thickness. This vertical pat-

tern of upward coarsening and thickening reflects

tern of upward coarsening and thickening reflects

parasequence progradation. '

parasequence

Each parasequence boundary in Figure 6 is marked

Each parasequence boundary in Figure 6 is marked

by a blue line on the well log. The parasequence from

by a blue line on the well log. The parasequence from

interval A (160 to 218 ft, or 49 to 66 m) begins at the

interval A (160 to 218 ft, or 49 to 66 m) begins at the

base with interbedded mudstones and burrowed,

base with interbedded mudstones and burrowed,

hummocky-bedded sandstones deposited in the

hummocky-bedded sandstones deposited in the

lower shoreface of a beach. The upper part of the cored

lower shoreface of a beach. The upper part of the cored

interval consists of trough and tabular cross-bedded

interval consists of trough and tabular cross-bedded

sandstones and planar-laminated sandstones depos-

sandstones and planar-laminated sandstones depos-

ited, respectively, in the upper shoreface and fore-

ited, respectively, in the upper shoreface and

fore-

PARASEQUENCES IN OUTCROP

NORTH CUFF. MOUTH OF GENTILE WASH

NE CORNEA

$EC.11- T1 35-R9E

CARBON COUNTY, UTAH

PARASEQUENCES IN A WELL LOG EXXON PRODUCTION RES. CO.

PRICE RIVER COAL NO. 3

N.W. CORNER SEC.6- T1 3S-R1 DE

·

·

~~~

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.

50

PARASEQUENCE CORE INTERVAL A

PARASEQUENCE_

BOUNDARY

Base map for outcrop

and well location

Tl2S

TllS

,

AU RIOE

HXON'1I0D

IIU til

'IIIC( IIIVI II

CO,ll Me.1

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PARASEQUENCE CORE INTERVAL B
-
,

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;

.:

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;

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r

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400

OH+t--

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.

Figure 6-Parasequences in outcrop, well log, and core from the Blackhawk Formation, Spring Canyon Member, in the Book Cliffs, near Helper, Utah.

PARASEQUENCE

BOUNDARY

PARASEQUENCES IN CORES EXXON PRODUCTION RES. CO.

PRICE RIVER COAL NO.3

N.W. CORNER SEC.6- T13S-Rl DE

PAAASEOUENCE

BOUNDARY

EXXON ELM GROVE PLANTATION BOSSIER PARISH, LA.

SEC.23-T16N-RllW

SP

SFL

100000

·12000

r l

3000

-_-_-_-_-_ -- --- r-------Tl-II:.:.:.~~;-------1

1----- ---I 8600 t---~~

8700

I----'l~----i 8900 1----;

1-------'1---1 9300 1----

1-------="F==9 9400 1------'

SHALLOW·MARINE BEACH PARASEQUENCES FROM THE LATE JURASSIC TO EARLY CRETACEOUS COTTON VALLEY GROUP OF LOUISIANA. CORES WERE AVAILABLE FOR FACIES INTERPRETATION.

o

SHALLOW· MARINE SANDSTONES

o

SHELF MUDSTONES ANi) THIN SANDSTONES

PARASEQUENCE BOUNDARY

POSSIBLE PARASEQUENCE BOUNDARY

~--

EXXON FARMERS LIFE G.U. NO.2 DUVAL CO. TEXAS

·10000

GR

10000

00

ILD

L

00

ILM

2000

J

2000

~!===::;;r~I---~I::;,~=~::=~!

I

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SHALLOW·MARINE BEACH PARASEQUENCES FROM THE PALEOCENE WILCOX GROUP OF SOUTH TEXAS CORES WERE AVAILABLE FOR FACIES INTERPRETATION.

UNION OIL OF CALIFORNIA

J LAND

S CO.

"C"

NO.

1

ST. MARTIN PARISH, LA.

SEC.ll-T13S-RllE

12000

o

I

o

l

SHORT NORMAL

AMP

SHORT NORMAL

f-+----

12200 1----:

12300

t---.F---

12400 r-

10

,

I

2

I

12500 f-t----=:; ,,-------j

c

c

13300 1---' :::-----== ~

13400 r-~ ~-------'

SHALLOW· MARINE DELl AIC PARASEQUENCES FROM THE MIOCENE OF CENTRAL LOUISIANA. FACIES INTERPRET A TIONS FROM LOG RESPONSE AND REGIONAL WELL· LOG CORRELATIONS.

QUINTANA PETROLEUM AND KOCH INDUSTRIES S/L 9967 NO.1 ST. MARY PARISH, LA.

·1600

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1.

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~

SP

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1

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-

~

-

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4000

00

SFLA

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I~_---::-=-:---";;"'

I

I

9200

9300

9400

9600

9600

9700

9800

9900

10000

00

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-

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SFLA

t

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SHALLOW·MARINE DELTAIC PARASEQUENCES FROM THE MIOCENE OF CENTRAL LOUISIANA. FACIES INTERPRETATIONS FROM LOG RESPONSE AND REGIONAL WELL·LOG CORRELATIONS.

Figure 7-Well-Iog responses for beach and deltaic parasequences from Jurassic to Miocene in age. All well-log depths are in feet.

shore of the beach. The parasequence boundary

shore of the beach. The parasequence boundary

occurs at 158.5 ft (48 m) near the top of the last core

occurs at 158.5 ft (48 m) near the top of the last core

box. The boundary is marked by deeper-water, black,

box. The boundary is marked by deeper-water, black,

shelf mudstones lying sharply on burrow-churned,

shelf mudstones lying sharply on burrow-churned,

low-angle to planar-laminated sandstone beds with no

low-angleto planar-laminated sandstone beds with no

intervening transgressive lag. In outcrop, this parase-

intervening transgressive lag. In outcrop, this parase-

quence boundary can be traced approximately 15 mi

quence boundary can be traced approximately 15 mi

(24 km)along depositional dip. This core was cut near

the youngest, most basinward position of the fore-

shore in the parasequence.

255 ft, or 94 to 78 m) contains two

parasequences (Figure 6). The lower parasequence

(24 km) along depositional dip. This core was cut near

the youngest, most basinward position of the fore-

shore in the parasequence.

Interval B (308 to

Interval B (308 to 255 ft, or 94 to 78 m) contains two

parasequences (Figure

6). The lower parasequence

begins at the base

begins at the base of the core with burrowed, black

mudstones and partially burrowed-churned,

wave-

of the core with burrowed, black

mudstones and partially burrowed-churned, wave-

rippled sandstones deposited on a shelf. This facies is

overlain by burrowed, hummocky-bedded sand-

rippled sandstones deposited on a shelf. This facies is

overlain by burrowed, hummocky-bedded sand-

stones interbedded with thi11., black mudstones depos-

stones interbedded with thin, black mudstones depos-

ited in the lower shoreface of a beach. The boundary

ited in the lower shoreface of a beach. The boundary

for the lower parasequence is a burrowed surface at