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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Methods for assessment of models 28 Nov 2018

Methods for assessment of models | 28 Nov 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

Quantitative stratigraphic analysis in a source-to-sink numerical framework

Xuesong Ding1, Tristan Salles1, Nicolas Flament2, and Patrice Rey1 Xuesong Ding et al.
  • 1Basin GENESIS Hub, EarthByte Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
  • 2School of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia

Abstract. The sedimentary architecture at continental margins reflects the interplay between the rate of change of accommodation creation (δA) and the rate of change of sediment supply (δS). As a result, stratigraphic interpretation increasingly focuses on understanding the link between deposition patterns and changes in δA/δS. Here, we use the landscape modelling framework pyBadlands to assess the respective performance of two well-established stratigraphic interpretation techniques: the trajectory analysis method and the accommodation succession method. In contrast to most Stratigraphic Forward Models (SFMs), pyBadlands provides self-consistent sediment supply to basin margins as it simulates erosion, sediment transport and deposition in a source-to-sink context. We present a landscape evolution that takes into account periodic sea level variations and passive margin thermal subsidence over 30 million years, under uniform rainfall. We implement the two aforementioned approaches to interpret the resulting depositional cycles at the continental margin. We first apply both the trajectory analysis and the accommodation succession methods to manually map key stratigraphic surfaces and define stratigraphic units from shelf-edge (or offlap break) trajectories, stratal terminations and stratal geometries. We then design a set of post-processing numerical tools to calculate shoreline and shelf-edge trajectories, the temporal evolution of changes in accommodation and sedimentation, and automatically produce stratigraphic interpretations. Comparing manual and automatic stratigraphic interpretations reveals that the results of the trajectory analysis method depend on time-dependent processes such as thermal subsidence whereas the accommodation succession method does not. In addition to reconstructing stratal stacking patterns, the tools we introduce here make it possible to quickly extract Wheeler diagrams and synthetic cores at any location within the simulated domain. Our work provides an efficient and flexible quantitative sequence stratigraphic framework to evaluate the main drivers (climate, sea level and tectonics) controlling sedimentary architectures and investigate their respective roles in sedimentary basins development.

Xuesong Ding et al.
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Xuesong Ding et al.
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Short summary
This work introduced a quantitative stratigraphic framework within a source-to-sink numerical code pyBadlands, and evaluated two stratigraphic interpretation techniques. This quantitative framework allowed to quickly construct the strata formations and automatically produce strata interpretations. We further showed that the accommodation succession method, compared with the trajectory analysis method, provided more reliable interpretations as it is independent on time-dependent processes.
This work introduced a quantitative stratigraphic framework within a source-to-sink numerical...