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Stratigraphic Analysis: Decades of Revolution (1970–1979) and Refinement (1980–1989)

  • C. John Mann
Part of the Computer Applications in the Earth Sciences book series (CAES)

Abstract

Significant progress in stratigraphic analysis has occurred during the 70s in several areas of stratigraphy. Multiband seismic data systems with greater resolution of detail have revolutionized our ability to interpret subsurface stratigraphic units, distributions, lithologies, physical properties, and contained fluids. For the first time, we are able to predict and map with reasonable accuracy what subsurface stratigraphie sequences will be encountered in poorly explored sedimentary basins.

Progress has occurred in development of quantitative stratigraphie correlation methods ranging from probablistic approaches in biostratigraphy to Fourier analyses in lithostratigraphy. Automated analyses of electricalgeophysical logs from boreholes have improved geological interpretations regarding strata. Multivariate approaches have enhanced our paleoenvironmental and paleoecological interpretations of earth’s history. Advances in data representation, mapping methods, geographic analysis, and understanding of trend surfaces have resulted in improved regional stratigraphie analyses and interpretations. Interactive computer technology has permitted the stratigrapher to determine more quickly alternative methods of data display and analysis which leads to better understanding of relations and more rapid solution of problems. All of these advances have been accompanied by, and partially are, a result of improved stratigraphie data bases and information banks. Finally, the first significant step toward a more rigorous, theoretical stratigraphy occurred during the past decade with application of set theory principles to stratigraphic terminology, definitions, and concepts.

The next ten years predictably will give us improved and greater usage of existing quantitative methodologies. Better methods of displaying and depicting stratigraphic data, relationships, and interpretations will arise through greater use of three-dimensional displays, color coding, and improved resolution of output. Better data bases will provide broader coverage and permit more comprehensive analyses; nonetheless, much progress will remain to be accomplished because the final availability of all stratigraphie data in computer data banks seemingly is more distant than one decade. Similarly, data standardization will be greater but, unfortunately, probably will not be universal. Better stratigraphie analyses will result from more sophisticated applications of existing techniques to multiple data sets. All of this will become available more readily to geologists by development and marketing of smaller, cheaper, and faster computers having multiple processors and larger memories. More field usage of computers by geologists during the next ten years can be anticipated.

No methodological revolutions can be foreseen for the next decade; only improved usage of existing methodologies is predictable. This does not indicate that sudden advances will not occur, for who would have predicted ten years ago that seismic technology would revolutionize subsurface stratigraphy in less than a decade? One can say only that no revolutionary methodology or technology has been recognized to be lurking in our world, ready to surge forth in the 80s to alter some aspect of stratigraphie analysis as did occur in the 70s.

Keywords

Seismic Data Gradient Analysis Petroleum Geologist Stratigraphic Correlation Calcareous Nannofossil 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. John Mann
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IllinoisUSA

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