Geology 364
Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis

Lynn S. Fichter -
233 Miller Hall - 568 6531 - James Madison University

   Field Trips         Lecture Notes         Sequence Theory         Depositional Systems    Sample Tests
If you see any mistakes in these pages, broken links, incorrect links, etc. please let me know so I can correct them.
   Course Syllabus

   Text Books:
>  Two JMU Copy Center Notebooks, one for lecture and one for lab.
   Final Exam Time: Monday, Dec 9, 8:00-10:00

   Office Hours: MWF 8:00 - 9:00; TT 8:00 - 9:00; but, come by any time I am in my office.
Field Trip Support
   Field Trip # 1
   Field Trip # 2
   Study Strategies for Trips #1 and #2

   Field Trip # 4 - Fulks Run Section Measuring - a moasic of the entire outcrop, with selected details

   Briery Gap Run - Foreknobs and lower Hampshire Formations - picture mosaic of outcrop

Lecture Notes
     I have formally typed up notes for only portions of the class. Much of what I lecture on is done off the top of my head, using the illustrations as a guide. But where I do have notes I will be glad to put them up here. If you have some notes you would like to see here let me know, and I will let you know if I have them.

   Philosophical Foundations: These notes cover the search for truth beginning with mythical truth and extending through the work of David Hume, Karl Popper, and the "To and Fro" model of Jacob Bronowski. None of the figures are here; see them in the lecture notebook. Also note these notes are an outline; I frequently expand on them as I lecture.
   Thomas Kuhn and the Structure of Scienific Revolutions
Information Theory, and The State of Geology

   Texture - as a facies element
   Color - as a facies element. The only thing here is the Lecture Notebook chart filled out and labeled. What you really need to do for color is read the excerpts from Turner's book "Continental Red Beds" pages 1-2, 60-68, 230-253, 319-322, 345-352.

Sequence Theory
     Sequence theory is such a major component of modern stratigraphy that its importance cannot be overestimated. All modern studies of the stratigraphic record are done within or stongly influenced by the theory. Unfortunately, until recently, most of the literature existed as technical articles, often narrow and highly specific, and not easy to always get hold of.
     Today they are beginning to write textbooks that deal with sequence theory, but I find them somewhat dense, and hard to get a concise, quintessential grasp of the theory from. Still there are some summary papers worth reading, and I want you to read two of them.

    Cross and Lessenger, 1988, Seismic Stratigraphy, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, p 319-332

   The General Sequence Stratigraphic Model.
   My friend Poche sent me this article, and I do not know where it came from. I think it may have accompanied a 1994 AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) Short Course. In any event, it is an excellent introduction to sequence theory. Read it!

University of South Carolina Sequence Theory Web Site
   The USC geology department has created an outstanding web site on sequence theory with many movies showing the development of various systems tracts. It helps enormously to be able to watch sea level rise and fall, and systems tracts develop. The links below take you to a few of the sites that are especially useful, although their navigation is excellent and you are free to roam whereever you want.
   USC Sequence Theory Home Site
   Clastic Systems Track Evolution
   Clastic Sequence With Incised Valleys
   Page containing links to all movies, including descriptive pages for each model

Class Images. Below are pdf files of some of the illustrations used in class, all labeled and in color. Note that some of these illustrations are new, and are to replace illustrations in your lecture notebook. If other illustrations come up in class that you would like me to label and put up just let me know and I will get them there.
   Sequence Deposits in a Eustatic Sea Level Cycle

   Stages of Development in the Low Stand Tract

   Sequence Deposits in a Eustatic Sea Level Cycle

   Stratigraphic Signature of the Neogene

   Seismic Terminations Across a Seismic Section

Below are files for the homework exercise that involved plotting an eustatic curve, three tectonic curves, and then adding them together.

   A blank version of the graph (with an extended top to allow graphing all the curves all the way to the top)

   My solutions for the curves. And, yes, the numbers are all calculated out in the lecture notebook (p 138-140). Just make sure you know how to calculate these curves, but take the data in the finished tables and draw your own curves.

Depositional Systems
   pdf annotated copy of Beach/Barrier Island System diagram.

Sample Tests
Sample Test Number One: Facies Elements
     This test uses several pages of illustrations that are not provided here. However, a sample page of structures is linked here.
Sample Page of Structures

Key to Test Number One - a Word file; when you click it it will ask you either to open it in Word, or save it to disc. Do which ever works for you at the moment.
Sample Test Number Two: Sequence Theory
     This test uses several pages of illustrations not provided here. However, the questions on the sample test give you an idea of what charts and diagrams to study (all of them), what questions to ask yourself (or your study partner) while studying, and how the homework assignments are incorporated into the test.
     I, of course, want you to know and understand it all :-) so the only question is,
"What format is Fichter going to use to give me the opportunity to demonstrate my deep knowledge and wisdom of sequence theory."

And I know you will demonstrate it brilliantly.
Sample Test Number Three: Depositional Systems
     The test is accompanied by several pages of illustrations not provided here: pictures of outcrops, maps of deposystems, strip logs of outcrops for deposystems.
      To prepare, review the depositional systems we studied, examining them as energy dissipating structures. That is, think of environments not as places but as processes, and learn to reconstruct the processes that create the maps, that create the outcrops, that result in the stratigraphic sections. This should not be rote memorization but learning to analyze and construct understanding from knowledge of the processes.
     And study together in small groups. Quiz each other. Examine and discuss the systems from every viewpoint going from processes to strip log, from strip log to map, from map to strip log, etc. Ideally I want you to learn the ability to encounter any system, even ones you have not seen before, and be able to analyze, dissect, induce, deduce, and come to understand them both from the bottom-up, and from your broad knowledge of top-down theories in stratigraphy and sedimentation.