The Semi-Markov Process as a General Sedimentation Model

  • Walther Schwarzacher
Part of the Computer Applications in the Earth Sciences book series (CAES)


Sedimentation may be considered as a two-stage process. Environmental control determines the gross aspect of lithology but other sedimentation processes are responsible for bedding. The two are separated because they operate according to different time scales. The semi-Markov process provides an ideal model for this situation, under the condition that the environmental history is determined by a Markov chain.

Models of bed formation can be based on the theory of random walk. The resulting bed thickness is either exponentially or Gamma distributed. Gamma distributions seem to fit observed bed- thickness better than the lognormal distribution. The semi-Markov process may result in exponential or polymodal bed thickness distributions. Examples of both have been generated by simulation.


Markov Chain Gamma Distribution Bedding Plane Thickness Distribution Sedimentation Model 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walther Schwarzacher
    • 1
  1. 1.The Queen’s UniversityBelfastUK

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