Sequence stratigraphy and eustatic sea-level change: the role of micropalaeontology
Abstract. Following the May 1992 meeting in Dijon, which initiated an international project on the “Sequence Stratigraphy of European Basins”, it seems an appropriate time to consider the contribution micropalaeontology can make to the science of sequence stratigraphy. In this short note, we assume that readers are familiar with sequence stratigraphic terminology; if not, see Van Wagoner et al. (1988).
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACING SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY?
Demonstrating global eustatic sea-level change. We accept that the basic sequence stratigraphy model put forward by Peter Vail and his colleagues (see Van Wagoner et al., 1988 for a summary) is a powerful tool for describing many sedimentary successions, and that the associated eustatic sea-level curve (Haq et al., 1987) has some validity. Our own observations on numerous sedimentary sequences around the world suggest that local and global eustatic events exist, and that relative sea-level curves can be constructed, but it should be remembered that the timing and magnitude of many global eustatic events are still to be established. As most workers in the field will be aware, much of the evidence to support the Haq et al. curve has not been published. The Sequence Stratigraphy of European Basins Project will go some way to rectify this, but it should be borne in mind that there can be an unfortunate tendency to use the Haq et al. curve for dating in its own right - i.e. fitting relative sea-level changes seen in a succession to the curve. If this is done, then the global . . .