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The Volume 1, No.

May 2003

A publication of SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology

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and Luncheon Peter McCabe
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Time: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Outstanding P aper in JSR, 2001:
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PAL AIOS, 2001
ALAIOS, 2001:: Councilor for P aleontology:
This year SEPM’s distinguished Thomas W. Dignes
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speaker is Henry W. Posamentier, General and M.E. Patzkowsky Cathy J. Busby
Manager of Geoscience and Technology International Councilor:
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at Anadarko Canada, Inc. Dr. Ole Martinsen
A.R. Sprague, P.E. Patterson,
Posamentier specializes in sequence Councilor for Research Activities:
stratigraphy and facies analysis of R.E. Hill, C.R. Jones, John R. Suter
depositional systems. K.M. Campion, J.C. Van Wagoner, Co-Editors, JSR:
The title of Posamentier’s presentation M.D. Sullivan, D.K. Larue, David A. Budd, Mary J. Kraus
is “Bringing Stratigraphy into the 21st H.R. Feldman, T.M. Demko, Editor
ditor,, P AL
century–Extraction of Stratigraphic and Chris Maples
R. W. Wellner, and J.K. Geslin
ditor,, SSpecial
pecial Publications:
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Poster Prresentation, 2002: Laura J. Crossey
Data Sets.” D.C. Twitchell, V.A. Cross, President, SEPM Foundation, Inc.:
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The Sedimentary Record

Welcome to
The Sedimentary Record
This is the inaugural issue of The Sedimentary Record, a new
series published quarterly in both online and paper format by
SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology). The Sedimentary
Record contains peer-reviewed science articles on topics of broad
and current interest to the membership of SEPM, as well as
shorter, editor-reviewed articles addressing a variety of topics,
including society business and media reviews. We welcome writ-
ten contributions from members of the Society for inclusion in
the journal. We also look forward to receiving suggestions con-
cerning how The Sedimentary Record should evolve in order to
meet its dual goals of serving 1) as an outlet for communicating
information important to the Society; and 2) as a focal point for
discussion of current topics, and topics pertinent to the future of
sedimentary geology.
Manuscripts to be considered for publication should be sub-
mitted to the editors in electronic format, and preferably by e-
mail. Upon acceptance, it is anticipated that papers will be pub-
lished quickly. Publication will include online availability
through the SEPM website.
We are proud to be associated with this new publication venue
Cover photo: Precambrian-Cambrian boundary interval in the of SEPM, and look forward to working with many of you in the
White-Inyo succession, White Mountains, view to the east from membership of the Society to bring important, current topics to
Highway 395 between Bishop and Big Pine, California publication in a rapid manner.
(see Corsetti and Hagadorn, this issue). Photo by F.A. Corsetti.
— The Editors

Loren E. Babcock, Department of Geological Sciences, The
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210
Stephen A. Leslie, Department of Earth Science, University of
Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204 4 The Precambrian-Cambrian Transition
<> in the Southern Great Basin, USA
Marilyn D. Wegweiser, Department of Biological and 9 President’s Observations:
Environmental Sciences, Georgia College and State University,
Milledgeville, Georgia 31061 <>
A Global Earth
9 Comments from the council:
SEPM Staff The SEPM Foundation
6128 East 38th Street, Suite #308,Tulsa, OK 74135-5814
10 The Hand Lens—a student forum
Phone (North America): 800-865-9765 The evolution of the multi-hat head
Phone (International): 918-610-3361 11 Field notes:
Dr. Howard Harper, Executive Director Industry Viewpoints
12 From the Director’s Chair:
Theresa Scott, Business Manager
Future of Sedimentary Geology
Kris A. Farnsworth, Publications Coordinator The Sedimentary Record is published quarterly by the Society for
<> Sedimentary Geology with offices at 6128 East 38th Street, Suite 308,
Tulsa, OK 74135-5814, USA.
Judy Tarpley, Event and Conference Manager
<> Copyright 2003, Society for Sedimentary Geology. all rights reserved. Opinions
presented in this publication do not reflect official positions of the Society.
Michele Woods, Membership Services Associate
<> The Sedimentary Record is provided as part of membership dues to the
Society for Sedimentary Geology.

May 2003 | 3
The Sedimentary Record

The Precambrian- 2000; Shen and Schidlowski, 2000). Due to

endemic biotas and facies control, it is diffi-
cult to correlate directly between siliciclas-
Cambrian Transition in the tic- and carbonate-dominated successions.
This is particularly true for the PC-C
Southern Great Basin, USA boundary interval because lowermost
Cambrian biotas are highly endemic and
Frank A. Corsetti James W. Hagadorn individual, globally distributed guide fossils
Department of Earth Science Department of Geology are lacking (Landing, 1988; Geyer and
University of Southern California Amherst College Shergold, 2000).
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740 Amherst, MA 01002 Determination of a stratigraphic bound- ary generates a large amount of interest
because it provides scientists with an oppor-
ABSTRACT:The Precambrian-Cambrian boundary presents an interesting tunity to address a variety of related issues,
stratigraphic conundrum: the trace fossil used to mark and correlate the base of the including whether the proposed boundary
Cambrian, Treptichnus pedum, is restricted to siliciclastic facies, whereas position marks a major event in Earth histo-
biomineralized fossils and chemostratigraphic signals are most commonly obtained ry. Sometimes the larger-scale meaning of
from carbonate-dominated sections.Thus, it is difficult to correlate directly between the particular boundary can be lost during
many of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary sections, and to assess details of the the process of characterization. This is
timing of evolutionary events that transpired during this interval of time.Thick demonstrated in a plot of PC-C boundary
sections in the White-Inyo region of eastern California and western Nevada, USA, papers through time (Fig. 2): an initial
contain mixed siliciclastic-carbonate lithofacies, and therefore promote correlation “gold rush” to publish on the boundary
between these classic, well-studied lithologic end-members.An integrated occurred after the formation of the working
stratigraphic approach was applied to the White-Inyo succession, combining group on the PC-C boundary in the early
lithologic, paleontologic, and chemostratigraphic data, in order to address the 1970s; papers trailed off though the 1980s,
temporal framework within the basin, and to facilitate worldwide correlation of the and plummeted after the GSSP was ratified
boundary. Results from the southern Great Basin demonstrate that the negative by the International Union of Geological
δ13C excursion that is ubiquitous in carbonate-dominated successions containing Sciences (IUGS) in 1992 (Rowland and
small shelly fossils occurs within stratigraphic uncertainty of the first occurrence of Corsetti, 2002). As our understanding of
T. pedum.This global geochemical marker thus provides a link with the primary this interval of Earth history grows, we
biostratigraphic indicator for the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary. focus more on the “bigger picture” issues
(e.g., evolution and diversification of the
Metazoa), and focus less on the “boundary
INTRODUCTION the GSSP (Gehling et al., 2001). issues.” However, we will inevitably seek tie
The Precambrian-Cambrian (PC-C) transi- Approximately 70% of all PC-C boundary points with which to link fossils from silici-
tion records one of the most important successions are siliciclastic (Landing, 1994). clastic sections to the geochemical and cli-
intervals in the history of life, because it However, many carbonate successions mate-change data from carbonate-dominat-
encompasses the appearance and diversifica- around the world have been more intensely ed sections so that we can improve our
tion of metazoans, the invasion of the infau- studied because they record the advent of understanding of this critical interval.
nal realm, the advent of biomineralization widespread biomineralization and easily Mixed siliciclastic-carbonate successions
and predation, as well as dramatic isotopic obtainable δ13C chemostratigraphic records become crucial in the search for stratigraph-
and atmospheric changes (Lipps and Signor, (summarized in Kaufman et al., 1997; ic tie points. Although a number of impor-
1992; Bengtson, 1994; Knoll and Carroll, Shields et al., 1997; Bartley et al., 1998; tant lower Cambrian sections containing
1999; Bottjer et al., 2000; Knoll, 2000; Shields, 1999; Corsetti and Hagadorn, mixed siliciclastic-carbonate successions are
Babcock et al., 2001; Fig. 1). Here we draw
a distinction between the PC-C transition,
represented by the post-glacial terminal
Proterozoic through the early Cambrian (ca.
600-520 Ma), and the PC-C boundary, a
chronostratigraphic boundary represented
by a point in rock (Global Standard-strato-
type Section and Point, or GSSP) in the
Fortune Head, Newfoundland, section
(Landing, 1994). The GSSP section is com-
posed predominantly of siliciclastics
(Narbonne et al., 1987), and the fossil cho-
sen to coincide with the boundary, Figure 1. Summary of pertinent features associated with the PC-C transition (data compiled principally
Treptichnus (or Phycodes) pedum, is restricted from Droser and Bottjer, 1988; Crimes, 1992; Droser et al., 1999, 2002; Knoll and Carroll, 1999;
to siliciclastic facies. T. pedum recently has McIlroy and Logan, 1999), demonstrating the biospheric changes represented in this interval. SSFs:
small shelly fossils. Arrow denotes the first appearance of vertically-oriented bioturbation.
been demonstrated to occur ~ 4 m below

4 | May 2003
The Sedimentary Record
From the time of Walcott (1908), the thick,
superbly exposed, and highly fossiliferous
Lower Cambrian strata from the southwest-
ern United States (Figs. 3, 4, cover photo)
have proved instrumental for understanding
the Cambrian biotic explosion, and have
even been suggested for a potential basal
Cambrian stratotype (Cloud, 1973).
Proterozoic—lower Paleozoic strata in the
southern Great Basin were deposited on a
thermally subsiding trailing margin created
Figure 2. PC-C boundary publications through through rifting of the Laurentian craton in Figure 3. A. Map showing distribution of four
time (constructed by searching GEOREF for the Neoproterozoic (e.g., Stewart, 1966, interfingering facies successions that span the
‘Precambrian-Cambrian,’ ‘Proterozoic- 1970; Stewart and Suczek, 1977; Armin PC-C interval in the southern Great Basin; suc-
Cambrian,’ and ‘Neoproterozoic-Cambrian’ in and Mayer, 1983; Bond et al., 1985). cessions become progressively thicker to the
the title). Neoproterozoic-Cambrian strata in the northwest, the offshore direction (after Nelson,
southwestern United States thicken from 1978; Corsetti et al., 2000; Fedo and Cooper,
2001). B. Shaded area represents the approxi-
known (e.g., Mongolia, Brasier et al., 1996; southeast to northwest, and can be grouped
mate PC-C outcrop belt in the southern Great
Olenik uplift, Siberia, Knoll et al., 1995; into four distinct but interfingering succes- Basin (after Stewart, 1970); the Mt. Dunfee
Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern sions: Craton, Craton Margin, Death Valley section was offset to its present position by post-
Canada, Narbonne and Aitken, 1995; (proximal-shelf ), and White-Inyo (proxi- Cambrian transtensional faulting.
southern Great Basin, Corsetti and mal- to mid-shelf ) successions (Stewart,
Hagadorn, 2000), not all of these contain 1970; Nelson, 1976, 1978; Mount et al., ous with respect to earliest Cambrian guide
the PC-C boundary. Also, not all the sec- 1991; Corsetti and Hagadorn, 2000; Fedo fossils (e.g., Signor and Mount, 1986).
tions contain an appropriate juxtaposition and Cooper, 2001; Fig. 3). An erosional dis- Trilobites, which are important guide fossils
of carbonate- and trace-fossil-rich siliciclas- conformity removed the PC-C boundary in Lower Cambrian sections in the Great
tic strata. Thick, relatively complete, well- interval in the Craton and Craton Margin Basin (e.g., Nelson, 1976; Palmer, 1981,
exposed, and easily accessible successions in successions (Fedo and Cooper, 1990, 2001). 1998; Hollingsworth, 1999), make their
the southern Great Basin contain siliciclastic This sequence boundary is traceable from first appearance well above this interval
units and the boundary-marking fossil, T. the Craton Margin through the Death (Hollingsworth, 1999).
pedum, in association with carbonate units Valley succession to the White Inyo succes-
recording a complete δ13C chemostrati- sion, and probably represents the “Sauk I” White-Inyo Succession
graphic profile (Corsetti and Kaufman, disconformity (Palmer, 1981). The bound- In ascending order, the White-Inyo
1994; Corsetti et al., 2000; Corsetti and ary interval resides below this unconformity Succession consists of the Wyman
Hagadorn, 2000; Hagadorn and Waggoner, where incision was limited. The Death Formation, Reed Dolomite, Deep Spring
2000). The southern Great Basin sections Valley succession records both appropriate Formation, Campito Formation, Poleta
provide an excellent opportunity to com- trace fossil biostratigraphy and carbon iso- Formation, Harkless Formation, and the
pare results from a variety of stratigraphic tope data (Corsetti and Hagadorn, 2000). Mule Spring Limestone (Nelson, 1962; Fig.
approaches that have emerged as useful for However, the sections are relatively thin and 4). The White-Inyo Mountains have been
correlating potential stage and series bound- the carbonates from which the δ13C record the focus of intense PC-C boundary study,
aries within the Cambrian (e.g., Geyer and was recovered are particularly thin. The but the paucity of earliest Cambrian fossils
Shergold, 2000). White-Inyo succession is thickest, but, until has been problematic (e.g., Cloud and
now, has been considered poorly fossilifer- Nelson, 1966; Taylor, 1966; Alpert, 1977;

Figure 4. Generalized lithostratigraphic columns

for the PC-C transition interval in the southern
Great Basin (after Nelson, 1962, 1976; Stewart,
1970; Fedo and Cooper, 2001). Whereas the
Lower Cambrian portion is well constrained and
correlated between the intervals, correlations
between Neoproterozoic strata are less well con-
strained. Base of the Sauk I Sequence removes some
of the Neoproterozoic-Lower Cambrian interval in
more proximal (Craton Margin) settings. The
Death Valley succession contains a Neoproterozoic
glacial-cap-carbonate succession, but no known
correlatives exist in the White-Inyo succession.
Fossil symbols represent first occurrences of key taxa.

May 2003 | 5
The Sedimentary Record
Figure 5: A. Mountain in the Inyo Range, the fication; periodic emergence is indicated.
Helminthoidichnites formation exceeds 3000 meters in Overall, sedimentary stacking patterns, sedi-
on bed sole, Wyman thickness (Nelson, 1962). The mentary structures, and facies associations
Formation, south of section primarily represents shal- suggest that each member represents a shal-
Hines Ridge, low marine deposition. The base lowing-upward parasequence. Sharp discon-
Andrews Mountain, of the formation is not exposed, formities divide the members (but see
California (scale so the nature of any underlying Mount et al., 1991). The Campito, Poleta,
bar=1 cm incre- contact in not known (Nelson, Harkless (and Saline Valley), and Mule
ments). B. Domal
1962). The Reed Dolomite rests Spring formations record similar shallow
Middle Deep Spring
unconformably on the Wyman at marine, mixed-siliciclastic carbonate strata
Formation, Mt. most localities and is divided into (e.g., Moore, 1976; Mount and Bergk,
Dunfee, Nevada three members: the Lower 1998), and have similar sedimentary ori-
(knife ~8 cm long). Member, Hines Tongue, and the gins.
C. Packstone lag bed Upper Member. The Lower The White-Inyo succession contains a
composed mostly of Member is characterized by number of body and trace fossils. We have
Cloudina riemkeae coarsely-crystalline pink dolo- identified bed-parallel tubular trace fossils,
(across middle of stone with cross-bedded oolitic including Helminthoidichnites and Planolites
photo), Lower Deep horizons, and minor domal stro- (Fig. 5A), in the Wyman Formation; we
Spring Formation, matolite horizons. This suggests cannot falsify the hypothesis that some of
Mt. Dunfee,
subtidal to intertidal marine dep- these are body fossils. The Hines Tongue of
Nevada (field of
view ~32 cm wide).
osition. The Hines Tongue is a the Reed Dolomite contains a depauperate
D. Close-up of area southward-thickening siliciclastic suite of bed-parallel trace fossils, such as
shown in Fig. 5C unit consisting of hummocky- Helminthoidichnites, Planolites, and
showing C. riemkeae crossbedded sandstone and minor Torrowangea, and the Upper Member con-
debris (field of view siltstone with minor carbonate tains packstones of the body fossil Cloudina.
~5 cm wide). E. interbeds. Thus suggests deposi- Carbonates of the Lower and Middle
Treptichnus pedum, tion below normal wave base but Members of the Deep Spring Formation
Upper Deep Spring above storm wave base. The contain Cloudina (in skeletal lags and isolat-
Formation, Andrews Hines Tongue is thickest in the ed occurrences; Figs. 5C, D). These fossils
Mountain, Hines Ridge area of the Inyo were initially identified as Cambrian small
California (field of
Range, and thins dramatically to shelly fossils (Signor et al., 1983) but were
view ~9 cm wide).
F. Cruziana and
the north in the White subsequently reinterpreted as the
Diplichnites, Upper Mountains and Esmeralda Neoproterozoic Cloudina (Grant, 1990). It
Deep Spring County, Nevada. The Upper remains unclear whether all of the forms
Formation, Hines Member is characterized by mas- reinterpreted as Cloudina are, in fact,
Ridge, California sive dolostones. Minor karstifica- Cloudina or whether some are small shelly
(field of view ~9 cm tion is present at the contact with fossils. Siliciclastics of the Middle Member
wide). the overlying Deep Spring also contain rare examples of Cloudina and
Formation at some localities. bed-parallel trace fossils, including Planolites
The Deep Spring Formation is and Plagiogmus. Treptichnus pedum (Fig.
formally divided into the Lower, 5E), which delineates the PC-C boundary,
Middle, and Upper Members, occurs near the top of the Middle Member
Nelson, 1976, 1978; Mount et al., 1983; each consisting of a siliciclastic-carbonate in the Mt. Dunfee area and at the base of
Signor et al., 1983; Gevirtzman and Mount, couplet (Gevirtzman and Mount, 1986; the Upper Member in the White
1986; Signor and Mount, 1986; Droser and Mount et al., 1991). The siliciclastic half- Mountains; in the latter case, T. pedum is
Bottjer, 1988; Corsetti and Kaufman, 1994; cycle of each member contains green, ripple associated with a moderately diverse ichno-
Fritz, 1995; Hagadorn and Bottjer, 1999; cross-laminated siltstones, and quartzites fossil assemblage (including Cruziana and
Hagadorn et al., 2000). Because the PC-C with hummocky cross-stratification, indi- Rusophycus, Fig. 5F). The Campito
boundary paradigm has changed over the cating deposition in relatively shallow water Formation contains trilobites characteristic
last three decades, the inferred position of above storm wave base. The boundary of the Fallotaspis and Nevadella zones (see
the boundary in the succession has changed between the siliciclastic and carbonate half- Hollingsworth, 1999), abundant trace fos-
as well. New fossil evidence (Fig. 5) is con- cycle is transitional at most localities. The sils, and limited archaeocyathid bioherms
sistent with the position of the boundary. carbonate half-cycle is commonly character- (Nelson, 1976, 1978).
More comprehensive biostratigraphic infor- ized by rhythmically interbedded carbonate
mation is contained in the cited references. wackestone and siliciclastic-rich siltstone, δ13C CHEMOSTRATIGRAPHY
The Wyman Formation consists of crossbedded oolite, and intraclastic grain- Faunal data are broadly useful for correla-
interbedded mudrock, siltstone, and stone; a high-energy, shallow-water deposi- tion across the PC-C interval in the south-
quartzite, with lensoidal oolitic, pisolitic, tional environment is indicated. The top of ern Great Basin, but δ13C chemostratigra-
and oncolitic carbonate layers that increase each carbonate half-cycle is commonly phy provides another important technique
in number upsection. Near Andrews dolomitized, and often shows minor karsti- for constraining intrabasinal and interre-

6 | May 2003
The Sedimentary Record
Figure 6. point useful for correlations between silici-
Integrated clastic-dominated sections and carbonate-
chemostratig- dominated sections.
raphy and In addition to providing a tool for
biostratigra- chronostratigraphic work, secular variation
phy for the in the δ13C record can be used to address
PC-C inter-
issues of basin scale. For example, if we use
val in the
the δ13C record as a chronostratigraphic
Great Basin tool, there is a progressive omission of the
(data from δ13C record in the onshore direction. The
Corsetti and most complete isotopic and stratigraphic
Kaufman, records are present in the most offshore sec-
1994; Corsetti and Hagadorn, 2000 and references therein; this study). The δ13C record is most complete at tions. This trend is not unexpected.
the Mt. Dunfee section (the most offshore section), where T. pedum occurs in the upper part of the Middle However, previously it was not possible to
Deep Spring Formation. The d13C record is progressively less complete towards the craton. Stromatolites occur determine the magnitude of stratal omission
in the White-Inyo succession in association with the δ13C nadir. using available lithostratigraphic or bios-
tratigraphic information.
gional correlations. The Neoproterozoic- the Death Valley succession, and this poten-
Cambrian δ13C record has been relatively tially resolves the question. GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS
well characterized and includes many posi- The relative synchronicity of the first Integrated biostratigraphic and chemostrati-
tive and negative excursions (e.g., Magaritz appearance of T. pedum and the negative graphic information from the southern
et al., 1991; Brasier et al., 1994, 1996; δ13C excursion in the southern Great Basin Great Basin demonstrate that the first
Strauss et al., 1992; Corsetti and Kaufman, can be further tested by comparing samples occurrence of T. pedum, the trace fossil used
1994; Shields, 1999; Corsetti et al., 2000; from the thinner Death Valley succession to to correlate the PC-C boundary, co-occurs
Montanez et al., 2000) reflecting secular samples from the much thicker, carbonate- with the ubiquitous negative carbon isotope
variation and recognizable globally. rich White-Inyo succession. High-resolu- excursion recorded in carbonate-dominated
Although most δ13C data are recovered from tion sampling for carbon isotope successions around the world. It is beyond
carbonate dominated successions, it is possi- chemostratigraphy was conducted though the scope of this paper to correlate between
ble to analyze organic-rich siliciclastic suc- the Deep Spring Formation at multiple sec- all the carbonate- and siliciclastic-dominat-
cessions for δ13C org. To be effective, this pro- tions across the basin, in concert with bios- ed section because endemism, hiatuses, and
cedure requires that the analyzed section did tratigraphic sampling (Fig. 6). Most of the diagenesis complicate the global picture.
not experience significant heating, and that Lower Deep Spring Formation, where Using the trace fossil and chemostratigraph-
rules out many sections from serious consid- Cloudina is present, shows a positive iso- ic records from the Great Basin as a bridge,
eration (e.g., Strauss et al., 1992). Thus, topic excursion (to ~+4‰ PDB). The however, it appears that the first occurrence
robust δ13C data from siliciclastic-dominat- excursion is progressively omitted in the of small shelly fossils was relatively synchro-
ed sections have remained elusive. A carbon onshore direction, and reaches only ~+2‰ nous with the first appearance of T. pedum.
isotope reference curve does not exist for the in more onshore sections. A negative excur- If we ignore potential facies control on the
PC-C interval, but broadly similar sion, commonly down to ~-5‰, is recorded first appearance of T. pedum in the Mt.
chemostratigraphic patterns exist among from the top of the Lower Member through Dunfee section, it could be argued that
many PC-C sections (Shields, 1999). the middle of the Middle Member. small shelly fossils just barely predate T.
Ignoring low amplitude variations, the Cloudina also occurs in this interval. The pedum because the first small shelly fossils
major δ13C trends include: 1, a latest negative excursion is most pronounced in appear in association with relatively negative
Neoproterozoic major positive carbon iso- offshore sections, where isotopic composi- δ13C values (Knoll et al., 1995). Given the
tope excursion (slightly older than 548 Ma; tions plummet to ~-7‰. Curiously, the iso- relatively small amount of stratigraphic
Grotzinger et al., 1995), associated with topic nadir is associated with unusually uncertainty, the debate regarding the choice
Cloudina, simple horizontal trace fossils, abundant stromatolite and thrombolite of trace fossils vs. small shelly fossils as the
and Ediacaran-type fossils; followed by 2, a development (Oliver and Rowland, 2002). stratotype marker is, in our view, rendered
pronounced negative carbon isotope excur- At Mt. Dunfee, which represents the most moot. The PC-C transition is well calibrat-
sion nearly coincident with the PC- C offshore section, δ13C values rise to near ed (Bowring et al., 1993; Grotzinger et al.,
boundary, at ca. 543-542 Ma (Bowring et 0‰, then return to mildly negative values 1995), and the duration of the negative
al., 1993; Grotzinger et al., 1995). The pre- beneath the Middle-Upper Deep Spring excursion is constrained to less than one
cise position of the negative excursion with contact. This excursion is missing from the million years. This implies that phosphatic
respect to the paleontologic marker of the other, less complete sections in the onshore biomineralization and vertically-oriented
boundary was unclear for a number of direction. T. pedum occurs in association burrowing developed quickly and nearly
years, although it was commonly assumed with this return to negative δ13C values. The synchronously (probably in less than one
that the negative excursion coincided with Upper Deep Spring Formation records a million years). Interestingly, the δ13C and
the boundary horizon. Corsetti and positive excursion to ~+2‰. Thus, the pres- trace fossil biostratigraphic records from the
Hagadorn (2000) demonstrated that T. ence of T. pedum in association with the Mt. Dunfee area closely match the hypo-
pedum does in fact occur within one nega- negative excursion is verified in the White- thetical, composite reference section pro-
tive- δ13C shift of the boundary horizon in Inyo succession, and it provides a global tie- posed by Shields (1999).

May 2003 | 7
The Sedimentary Record
CLOUD, P.E., 1973, Possible stratotype sequences for the basal Paleozoic infaunal ecology and evolution during the Proterozoic-Cambrian
CONCLUSION in North America: American Journal of Science, v. 273, p. 193-206. transition: Palaios, v. 14, p. 58-72.
Stratigraphic sections in White-Inyo CLOUD, P.E., and NELSON, C.A., 1966, Phanerozoic-Cryptozoic and
related transitions; new evidence: Science, v. 154, p. 766-770.
MUSGROVE, M., 2000, Evolution of the Sr and C isotope composi-
Mountains, California-Nevada, provide a CORSETTI, F.A., AWRAMIK, S.M., PIERCE, D.L., and KAUFMAN, A.J., tion of Cambrian oceans: GSA Today, v. 10, no. 5, p. 1-7.
2000, Using chemostratigraphy to correlate and calibrate unconfor- MOORE, J.N., 1976, Depositional environments of the Lower Cambrian
well-exposed and easily accessible PC-C mities in Neoproterozoic strata from the southern Great Basin of the Poleta Formation and its stratigraphic equivalents, California and
boundary interval through a mixed silici- United States: International Geology Review, v. 42, p. 516-533. Nevada: Brigham Young University Research Studies, Geology Series,
CORSETTI, F.A., and HAGADORN, J.W., 2000, Precambrian-Cambrian v. 23, p. 23-38.
clastic-carbonate succession. In this succes- transition; Death Valley, United States: Geology, v. 28, p. 299-302. MOUNT, J.F., and BERGK, K.J., 1998, Depositional sequence stratigraphy
sion, δ13C chemostratigraphy has been com- CORSETTI, F.A., and KAUFMAN, A.J., 1994, Chemostratigraphy of of Lower Cambrian grand cycles, southern Great Basin, U.S.A:
International Geology Review, v. 40, p. 55-77.
Neoproterozoic-Cambrian units, White-Inyo Region, eastern
bined with biostratigraphy to provide well- California and western Nevada; implications for global correlation MOUNT, J.F., GEVIRTZMAN, D.A., and SIGNOR, P.W., III, 1983,
and faunal distribution: Palaios, v. 9, p. 211-219. Precambrian-Cambrian transition problem in western North
constrained correlations, and these correla- America; Part I, Tommotian fauna in the southwestern Great Basin
CRIMES, T.P., 1992, Changes in the trace fossil biota across the
tions have application for correlating Proterozoic-Phanerozoic boundary: Journal of the Geological Society and its implications for the base of the Cambrian System: Geology, v.
of London, v. 149, p. 637-646. 11, p. 224-226.
between siliciclastic- and carbonate-domi- DROSER, M.L., and BOTTJER, D.J., 1988, Trends in depth and extent of MOUNT, J.F., HUNT, D.L., GREENE, L.R., and DIENGER, J., 1991,
nated successions globally. The ubiquitous bioturbation in Cambrian carbonate marine environments, western Depositional systems, biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy of
Lower Cambrian Grand Cycles, southwestern Great Basin, in Cooper,
United States: Geology, v. 16, p. 233-236.
negative δ13C excursion near the base of the DROSER, M.L., GEHLING, J.G., and JENSEN, S., 1999, When the worm
J.D., and Stevens, C., eds., Paleozoic paleogeography of the Western
United States; II, SEPM Pacific Section Book 67, p. 209-226.
Cambrian is confirmed to coincide with the turned; concordance of Early Cambrian ichnofabric and trace-fossil
NARBONNE, G.M., and AITKEN, J.D., 1995, Neoproterozoic of the
record in siliciclastic rocks of South Australia: Geology, v. 27, p. 625-
first occurrence of T. pedum in multiple sec- 628. Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern Canada: Precambrian Research,
v. 73, p. 101-121.
tions across the southern Great Basin. From DROSER, M.L., JENSEN, S., GEHLING, J.G., MYROW, P.M., and
NARBONNE, G.M., 2002, Lowermost Cambrian Ichnofabrics from NARBONNE, G.M., MYROW, P.M., LANDING, E., and ANDERSON, M.M.,
the time of Walcott to the present day, the the Chapel Island Formation, Newfoundland: Implications for 1987, A candidate stratotype for the Precambrian-Cambrian bound-
ary, Fortune Head, Burin Peninsula, southeastern Newfoundland:
Cambrian Substrates: Palaios, v. 17, p. 3-15.
Neoproterozoic-Cambrian succession in the FEDO, C.M., and COOPER, J.D., 1990, Braided fluvial to marine transi-
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 24, p. 1277-1293.
NELSON, C.A., 1962, Lower Cambrian-Precambrian succession, White-
southwestern United States continues to tion; the basal Lower Cambrian Wood Canyon Formation, southern
Inyo Mountains, California: Geological Society of America Bulletin,
Marble Mountains, Mojave Desert, California: Journal of
provide important data on one of the most Sedimentary Petrology, v. 60, p. 220-234. v. 73, p. 139-144.
NELSON, C.A., 1976, Late Precambrian-Early Cambrian stratigraphic and
interesting intervals in Earth history. FEDO, C.M., and COOPER, J.D., 2001, Sedimentology and sequence
stratigraphy of Neoproterozoic and Cambrian units across a craton- faunal succession of eastern California and the Precambrian-
margin hinge zone, southeastern California, and implications for the Cambrian boundary, in Moore, J.N., and Fritsche, A.E., eds.,
early evolution of the Cordilleran margin: Sedimentary Geology, v. Depositional environments of lower Paleozoic rocks in the White-
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 141-142, p. 501-522. Inyo Mountains, Inyo County, California: SEPM, Pacific Section, Los
We are indebted to S.W. Awramik, L.E. FRITZ, W.H., 1995, Esmeraldina rowei and associated Lower Cambrian
NELSON, C.A., 1978, Late Precambrian-Early Cambrian stratigraphic and
trilobites (1f fauna) at the base of Walcott’s Waucoban Series, south-
Babcock, D.J. Bottjer, J.D. Cooper, M.L. ern Great Basin, U.S.A: Journal of Paleontology, v. 69, p. 708-723. faunal succession of eastern California and the Precambrian-
Cambrian boundary: Geological Magazine, v. 115, p. 121-126.
Droser, S.Q. Dornbos, C.M. Fedo, J.S. GEHLING, J.G., JENSEN, S., DROSER, M.L., MYROW, P.M., and
NARBONNE, G.M., 2001, Burrowing below the basal Cambrian GSSP, OLIVER, L., and ROWLAND, S.M., 2002, Microbialite reefs at the close of
Hollingsworth, G.B. Langille, S.A. Leslie, Fortune Head, Newfoundland: Geological Magazine, v. 138, p. 213- the Proterozoic Eon: The Middle Member Deep Spring Formation at
Mt. Dunfee, Nevada, in Corsetti, F.A., ed., Proterozoic-Cambrian of
L.B. McCollum, J.F. Mount, C.A. Nelson, GEVIRTZMAN, D.A., and MOUNT, J.F., 1986, Paleoenvironments of an
the Great Basin and Beyond, SEPM Pacific Section Book 93, p. 97-
A.R. Palmer, M.N. Rees, S.M. Rowland, B. earliest Cambrian (Tommotian) shelly fauna in the southwestern
PALMER, A.R., 1981, Subdivision of the Sauk Sequence. U.S. Geological
Great Basin, U.S.A: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 56, p. 412-
Runnegar, R.A. Shapiro, J.H. Stewart, B. 421. Survey, Open-File Report 81-743, p. 160-162.
PALMER, A.R., 1998, A proposed nomenclature for the stages and series
Waggoner, and G.J. Wiggett for collegial GEYER, G., and SHERGOLD, J., 2000, The quest for internationally recog-
nized divisions of Cambrian time: Episodes, v. 23, p. 188-195. for the Cambrian of Laurentia: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v.
discussions, advice, and data. A.J. Kaufman GRANT, S.W.F., 1990, Shell structure and distribution of Cloudina, a
35, p. 323-328.
potential index fossil for the terminal Proterozoic: American Journal ROWLAND, S.M., and CORSETTI, F.A., 2002, A brief history of research
provided geochemical analyses and aided in of Science, v. 290-A, p. 261-294. on the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary in the southern Great Basin,
in Corsetti, F.A., ed., Proterozoic-Cambrian of the Great Basin and
data interpretation. We also thank the GROTZINGER, J.P., BOWRING, S.A., SAYLOR, B.Z., and KAUFMAN, A.J.,
Beyond, SEPM Pacific Section, Book 93, p. 79-85.
1995, Biostratigraphic and geochronologic constraints on early ani-
White Mountain Research Station mal evolution: Science, v. 270, p. 598-604. SHEN, Y., and SCHIDLOWSKI, M., 2000, New C isotope stratigraphy from
Southwest China; implications for the placement of the Precambrian-
(University of California), and the U.S. HAGADORN, J.W., and BOTTJER, D.J., 1999, Restriction of a late Cambrian boundary on the Yangtze Platform and global correlations:
Neoproterozoic biotope; suspect-microbial structures and trace fossils
National Park Service for field support and at the Vendian-Cambrian transition: Palaios, v. 14, p. 73-85.
Geology, v. 28, p. 623-626.
SHIELDS, G., 1999, Working towards a new stratigraphic calibration
locality access. HAGADORN, J.W., FEDO, C.M., and WAGGONER, B.M., 2000, Early scheme for the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian: Eclogae Geologicae
Cambrian Ediacaran-type fossils from California: Journal of
Helvetiae, v. 92, p. 221-233.
Paleontology, v. 74, p. 731-740.
REFERENCES HAGADORN, J.W., and WAGGONER, B., 2000, Ediacaran fossils from the
southwestern Great Basin, United States: Journal of Paleontology, v.
Stratified oceans and oxygenation of the late Precambrian environ-
ALPERT, S.P., 1977, Trace fossils and the basal Cambrian boundary, in ment; a post glacial geochemical record from the Neoproterozoic of
Crimes, T.P., and Harper, J.C., eds., International Symposium on 74, p. 349-359.
W. Mongolia: Terra Nova, v. 9, p. 218-222.
trace fossils, Seel House Press, p. 1-8. HOLLINGSWORTH, J.S., 1999, The problematical base of the Montezuman
ARMIN, R.A., and MAYER, L., 1983, Subsidence analysis of the Stage: should the Laurentian fallotaspidids be in a non-trilobite MOUNT, J.F., 1983, Two new pre-trilobite faunas from western North
Cordilleran miogeocline; implications for timing of late Proterozoic series?, in Palmer, A.R., ed., Laurentia 99: V Field Conference of the America: Nature, v. 303, p. 415-418.
rifting and amount of extension: Geology, v. 11, p. 702-705. Cambrian Stage Subdivision Working Group, International
Subcommission on Cambrian Stratigraphy, Institute for Cambrian SIGNOR, P.W., and MOUNT, J.F., 1986, Position of the Lower Cambrian
BABCOCK, L.E., ZHANG, W.T., and LESLIE, S.A., 2001, The Chengjiang Studies, Boulder, Colorado, p. 5-9. boundary in the White-Inyo Mountains of California and in
Biota: record of the early Cambrian diversification of life and clues to Esmeralda County, Nevada: Newsletters on Stratigraphy, v. 16, p. 9-
exceptional preservation of fossils: GSA Today, v. 11, no. 2, p. 4-9. KAUFMAN, A.J., and KNOLL, A.H., 1995, Neoproterozoic variations in the 18.
C-isotopic composition of seawater; stratigraphic and biogeochemical
BARTLEY, J.K., POPE, M., KNOLL, A.H., SEMIKHATOV, M.A., and PETROV, implications: Precambrian Research, v. 73, p. 27-49. STEWART, J.H., 1966, Correlation of Lower Cambrian and some
P.Y., 1998, A Vendian-Cambrian boundary succession from the Precambrian strata in the southern Great Basin, California and
northwestern margin of the Siberian Platform; stratigraphy, palaeon- KAUFMAN, A.J., KNOLL, A.H., and NARBONNE, G., M., 1997, Isotopes, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper, 0550-C, p. C66-
tology, chemostratigraphy and correlation: Geological Magazine, v. ice ages, and terminal Proterozoic Earth history: Proceedings of the
135, p. 473-494. National Academy of Sciences (USA), v. 94, p. 6600-6605.
STEWART, J.H., 1970, Upper Precambrian and Lower Cambrian strata in
BENGTSON, S., 1994, The advent of animal skeletons, in Bengtson, S., KNOLL, A.H., 2000, Learning to tell Neoproterozoic time: Precambrian the southern Great Basin, California and Nevada, U.S. Geological
ed., Early life on Earth: Columbia University Press, New York, p. Research, v. 100, p. 3-20.
Survey Professional Paper, 0620, p. 1-206.
412-425. KNOLL, A.H., and CARROLL, S.B., 1999, Early animal evolution; emerg-
STEWART, J.H., and SUCZEK, C.A., 1977, Cambrian and latest
BOND, G.C., CHRISTIE-BLICK, N.H., KOMINZ, M.A., and DEVLIN, W.J., ing views from comparative biology and geology: Science, v. 284, p. Precambrian paleogeography and tectonics in the western United
1985, An Early Cambrian rift to post-rift transition in the Cordillera 2129-2137. States, in Stewart, J.H., Stevens, C.H., and Fritsche, A.E., eds.,
of western North America: Nature, v. 315, p. 742-746. KNOLL, A.H., GROTZINGER, J.P., KAUFMAN, A.J., and KOLOSOV, P., 1995, Paleozoic paleogeography of the western United States:, SEPM Pacific
BOTTJER, D.J., HAGADORN, J.W., and DORNBOS, S.Q., 2000, The Integrated approaches to terminal Proterozoic stratigraphy: an exam- Section, Book 7, p. 1-17.
Cambrian substrate revolution: GSA Today, v. 10, no. 9, p. 1-7. ple from the Olenek Uplift, northeastern Siberia: Precambrian
STRAUSS, H., BENGTSON, S., MYROW, P.M., and VIDAL, G., 1992, Stable
Research, v. 73, p. 251-270. isotope geochemistry and palynology of the late Precambrian to Early
PELECHATY, S.M., and KOLOSOV, P., 1993, Calibrating rates of Early LANDING, E., 1994, Precambrian-Cambrian boundary global stratotype Cambrian sequence in Newfoundland: Canadian Journal of Earth
Cambrian evolution: Science, v. 261, p. 1293-1298. ratified and a new perspective of Cambrian time: Geology, v. 22, p. Sciences, v. 29, p. 1662-1673.
BOWRING, S.A., GROTZINGER, J.P., ISACHSEN, C.E., KNOLL, A.H., TAYLOR, M.E., 1966, Precambrian mollusc-like fossils from Inyo County,
PELECHATY, S.M., and KOLOSOV, P., 1993, Calibrating rates of early LIPPS, J.H., and SIGNOR, P., 1992, Origin and Early Evolution of the California: Science, v. 153, p. 198-201.
Cambrian evolution: Science, v. 261, p. 1293-1298. Metazoa: Topics in Geobiology, v. 10: New York, Plenum, 570 p. WALCOTT, C.D., 1908, Cambrian sections of the Cordilleran area,
BRASIER, M.D., SHIELDS, G., KULESHOV, V.N., and ZHEGALLO, E.A., MAGARITZ, M., HOLSER, W.T., and KIRSCHVINK, J.L., 1986, Carbon-iso- Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections: v. 53, p. 167-230.
1996, Integrated chemo- and biostratigraphic calibration of early ani- tope events across the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary on the
mal evolution; Neoproterozoic-Early Cambrian of southwest Siberian Platform: Nature, v. 320, p. 258-259.
Manuscript received 8 March, 2003; accepted 14 March 2003
Mongolia: Geological Magazine, v. 133, p. 445-485. MCILROY, D., and LOGAN, G.A., 1999, The impact of bioturbation on

8 | May 2003
The Sedimentary Record

A Global Earth
We live in difficult times. In many loca- that may define the individual. A different sedimentary geology community. This first
tions around the world terrorism is replac- perspective is seen as an asset rather than a issue of the Sedimentary Record is an initial
ing political discussion, thuggery is replac- threat. Scientific societies believe that their step in creating what I hope will become a
ing democracy, conflict is replacing diplo- health and vitality is dependant on attract- forum for the SEPM membership to learn
macy, and civil liberties are being trampled ing a membership of highly qualified indi- about news and recent developments in our
by some espousing freedom. While for the viduals from around the world. The SEPM community. I urge you to see this publica-
majority of us these events have resulted Society for Sedimentary Geology began in tion as a forum to let others know about
only in inconveniencies and anxieties, oth- the United States over 75 years ago but exciting developments in your area. We all
ers have been profoundly affected. A friend today it is truly an international society. We know communication is vital to a thriving
of mine, for example, suddenly found him- have members in many countries and, global scientific community — here is your
self helping in the recovery efforts after the although our membership is still dominated opportunity. Maybe in a small way we can
Bali bombing last October. In such a trou- by geologists living in the U.S., the majority set an example by showing that internation-
bled world it is tempting to turn inward of our new members are from outside the al cooperation benefits all participants. I
and worry only about what is going on in U.S. As the society membership evolves, it wish the Sedimentary Record every success
our local community. To do so is danger- is important that the society itself adapts and let us hope that the coming months
ous. The world is too small to ignore what and provides better services to members bring more peace to the world.
is going on elsewhere. around the world. We always welcome your
Scientists are used to thinking of a global suggestions as to how we can better serve Peter J. McCabe, President
community. We value creative minds and you.
innovative thinkers regardless of their SEPM is committed to being a leader in
nationality, gender, age, or any other factor providing communication within the global


The SEPM Foundation

The goal of the SEPM Foundation is to raise and distribute funds Diane C. Jorgensen, James Cook University, Australia
in support of SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) activities. (Sanders Fund)
The Foundation is essentially the fund raising arm of the Society. Quaternary Paleowinds and Paleoclimates of Western
Because our students are the future of our science, one of our Australia
most important areas is the support of student research in sedi- Elizabeth Leslie, University of Wisconsin (Weimer Fund)
mentary geology. This year we are supporting a student research The Climatic Signature of the Golden Valley Formation
section that was organized by Dave Budd and Toni Simo at the (Western North Dakota): Implications for Carbon Cycling
SEPM/AAPG Annual Meeting (P80). A total of 16 student During the Initial Eocene Thermal Maximum
posters will be presented on Tuesday morning (13 May). Each Jesse T. Korus, University of Wisconsin (Weimer Fund)
student presenter is supported by a travel grant from the Mobil The Alluvial Wasatch Formation, Green River Basin,
Foundation Student Participation Fund. The abstracts, avail- Wyoming: A Bridge in the Gap between Lacustrine
able online at http:// Stratigraphy and Drainage Basin Dynamics
gram/session_2020.htm, show the amazing diversity and strength
of current student research in sedimentary geology. If you are at Congratulations to these students. However, this year funding
the annual meeting, I strongly encourage you to make time for requests for student research greatly exceeded available funding.
this session. You will not be disappointed. Please consider contributing in support of the sedimentary geolo-
Our other area of support for students is research grants. We gists of the future. If you wish to create an enduring tribute, con-
are pleased to announce that in 2003 the Foundation has award- sider establishing a fund in the name of a beloved mentor or col-
ed four research grants from the Robert and Ruth Weimer, John league. More information on how you can assist the Foundation
Sanders funds, and for the first time the Gerald Friedman Fund. is available online or from headquarters or me at any time.
Funds were provided to the following students:
Stephen A. Welch, University of Tennessee (Friedman Fund) Tim Carr, President, SEPM Foundation, Inc.
Deciphering Eustatic and Tectonic Influences during
Parasequence Development in the Mesoproterozoic
Helena/Wallace Formations, Belt Supergroup

May 2003 | 9
The Sedimentary Record
sequence stratigraphy, structural response, and
The Hand Lens—a student forum ground water movements. This capacious
mode of understanding can be started in grad-
The Evolution of the Multi-Hat Head acteristic succession of sedimentary structures uate school, not only through the required
Sedimentology is a constantly changing disci- used in identifying a fluvial succession. This coursework and seminars, but also through
pline. It is ironic that the Greek philosopher model made it more convenient for geologists staying ‘up to date’ on the current literature.
Herotodus, a man of many talents, assigned to understand individual sedimentary geome- Of course, one should read the articles that
the name delta to the mouth of the Nile River tries and relationships at the kilometer scale. relate directly to one’s own research, but also
(c. 490 BC) because of its resemblance to the The true purpose of this essay is to inform take time to scan titles, and get a general idea
Greek symbol. Although little was known graduate students who are planning careers in of the kind of research that is being carried in
about deltas during the time of Herodotus, sedimentary geology, primarily sedimentology, other fields.
the deltaic system represents one of the most as to what is needed to be successful. During a My own research started out trying to con-
dynamic and diverse environments on this precious few years in graduate school, a stu- struct a palynostratigraphic framework of the
planet, not unlike the man who originally pro- dent needs to carefully map out what it will Borden Delta (Mississippian of the midwest-
posed the name. take to make himself or herself more ‘mar- ern USA). However, once the research started,
The classic work on sediment we as geolo- ketable’ upon completion of a degree. As a I had to gain a more complete knowledge of
gists are all familiar with was mostly per- graduate student, many things are out of one’s the sedimentologic history, at which point I
formed during the early to middle 1900s. control; however, there are some things that decided to apply sequence stratigraphic con-
Many experiments, with some of the results canbe controlled by the individual graduate cepts and chemostratigraphic data to gain a
still important today, were performed during student, that I think are necessary to maximize better understanding of the factors that con-
the early part of the last century. These one’s marketability after school. trolled the deposition of the Borden sedi-
include the work of Zingg (1935) and Powers Geologic research today is multifaceted. It is ments. Throughout my years as a graduate
(1953), both of whom contributed to the clas- rare to see a graduate student write a thesis on student, as my title lengthened and my expert-
sification of individual sediment particles. “the settling velocity of a quartz sand grain.” ise expanded, my reading list became longer. I
Understanding the behavior of sediments at In universities today, graduate student research found myself reading not only papers on paly-
the onset of suspension was the work of often covers several subdisciplines. Primarily nology, but also papers on sequence stratigra-
Hjulstrˆm (1935) and Shields (1936), both of sedimentologic studies are often combined phy, siliciclastic sedimentology, and Paleozoic
whom constructed diagrams, still in use today, with stratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, pale- glaciations. All these articles contributed to
that relate grain size to the onset of suspen- ontology, and structural studies. Graduate stu- the evolution of my multi-hat head. Today, my
sion. The middle 1900s witnessed a shift from dents today must be able to develop not only a collection of hats includes my primary and
studying individual sediment grains to study- strong geologic background in the field and most worn hat, palynology; however, my clos-
ing the classification of those grains after lithi- the classroom, but they also need to develop a et also contains a sequence stratigraphy hat, a
fication. The most well-known classification multi-hat head. This multi-hat head will make sedimentology hat, a Paleozoic glaciation hat,
systems of this era are the work of Dunham an individual much more marketable when it and a deltaic hat.
(1962) and Folk (1962). Each proposed a dif- comes time for the employment search, Whether you are starting a graduate career or
ferent classification for carbonate rocks, with whether it be industry or academia. are well into the thick of one, be sure to devel-
the former being more useful in the field and As history has shown, sedimentology will op, slowly, through your time as a student, a
the latter being more useful in the laboratory. continue to change over the next decade. In collection of hats. Remember, today you have
The late 1900s witnessed yet another change the literature today, it is rare to find an article to be a jack-of-all-trades, master of one!
regarding the way sediments are studied. centered on the application of one subdisci-
Studies of individual grains and the whole pline to a sedimentary succession (primarily Jeffery G. Richardson; Department of
rocks evolved into a method of analyzing an sedimentology) to a given study. Even in sedi- Geological Sciences; The Ohio State
entire depositional system. The work of indus- mentology-based journals (i.e., Journal of University; Columbus, Ohio 43210
try research groups became important and Sedimentary Research, Sedimentology, etc.)
influential throughout the 1970s and 1980s. recent titles include studies that relate sedi-
The classic work of the Exxon Group (Vail et mentary structures, sequence stratigraphy, References
Dunham, R. J., 1962. Classification of carbonate rocks according to
al., 1977) is probably one of the more impor- glacio-eustasy, and basin analysis to basic sedi- depositional textures, In W. E. Ham, (ed.), Classification of carbonate
tant contributions to the field of sedimentol- mentologic studies. Broad-based skills men- rocks: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 1, p.
ogy and stratigraphy during the last century. tioned in some of these titles are impossible to Folk, R. L., 1962. Spectral subdivision of limestone types, In W. E., Ham,
(ed.), Classification of carbonate rocks: American Association of
Seismic stratigraphy, which later evolved into completely master. This leads to the next trend Petroleum Geologists Memoir 1, p. 62-84.
sequence stratigraphy, changed the basic ideas in sedimentology studies, the multi-author Hjulstrˆm, F., 1935. The morphological activity of rivers as illustrated by
Rivers Fyris. Bulletin of the Geological Institute of Uppsala, v. 25,
of sedimentary relationships and stacking pat- paper. The single author, peer-review paper is (ch. III).
Miall, A. D., 1985. Architectural element analysis: a new method of facies
terns on a basin-wide scale. With the advent not completely extinct, but there are many analysis applied to fluvial deposits. Earth Science Reviews, v. 22, p.
of sequence stratigraphy, sedimentology came more multi-author papers in today’s literature. Powers, M. C., 1953. A new roundness scale for sedimentary particles.
to be interpreted in a more lateral fashion, The evolution of the multi-hat head, when Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 23, p. 117-119.
Shields, A., 1936. Anwendung der Ahnlickeitsmechanik und
although vertical detail was also enhanced. involved in a multi-author paper, requires the Turbulenzforscheng auf die Geschiebebewegung, Mitteilung Preussag
Versuchsanstalt, Wasserbau, Erd, Schiffbau, Berlin, no. 26.
Miall (1985) proposed the idea of architectur- individual to have more than a general under- Vail, P. R., Mitchum, R. M., Jr., and Thompson, S., III, 1977. Seismic
al element analysis. This idea put forth a given standing of all concepts of the paper. This may stratigraphy and global changes of sea level, part 3: relative changes of
sea level from coastal onlap. American Association of Petroleum
set of geometries for a fluvial setting. include not only your sedimentological analy- Geologist, Memoir 26, p. 63-82.
Zingg, T., 1935. Beitr‰ge zur Schotteranalyse:Schweizerische
Architectural element analysis involved a char- sis, but also a general understanding of Mineralogische und Petrographische Mitteilungen, v. 15, p. 39-140.

10 | May 2003
The Sedimentary Record

Industry Viewpoints
Q: Has your view of sedimentary tional histories and environments of poten- understand a smaller piece.”
geology changed over the past tially new reservoirs in these old and very Always try to find an example in today’s
decade? large fields. These reservoirs have been world that will relate back to what you are
A: Yes. The real change in the industry bypassed for many years by the original trying to hypothesize. We use this in the
occurred approximately 20 years ago with owners of the fields, and when new owners petroleum industry to help us understand
the theories relating to Sequence come along, new ideas are looked at and old what could be happening in the subsurface.
Stratigraphy. The industry has had time to biases about the reservoirs are forgotten. We Always keep your mind open to new
put these theories to a test through out the have been very successful at doing this and ideas. No matter how hard and long you
world and they have worked quite well. On hope to continue applying new ideas and work on a problem, there is always another
a smaller field wide basis, the complexities technology to these old fields. way to look at it. Don’t get into the Oil
of the sedimentary world are much more Business. Become a Lawyer or Doctor. Just
Q: Finish the following sentence. If I
profound and harder to evaluate unless you kidding. It has been a tremendous and
taught sedimentary geology to
have an abundant amount of data such as rewarding experience being a petroleum
undergraduates, the most important
well bores with modern logs or detailed out- geologist and I would highly recommend it
things that I would stress are....
crop data. This data is hard to come by in to your students.
A: No matter how complex the model you
these older fields such as Elk Basin.
predict is, in real life it will be exponentially
Michael Shourd, Senior Staff Geologist
Q: How is sedimentary geology more complex if you could really see the
Anadarko Petroleum, Houston,TX
important in your daily working life? whole picture.
A: It is very important. I deal with it Always step back and look at the regional
everyday, being a petroleum geologist work- picture before you try and evaluate down to
ing in the development of older mature the local level. “You need to try and under-
fields. We are always looking at the deposi- stand the whole picture before you can


Future of Sedimentary Geology

I remember reading a sci-fi story where predictions were about 25% correct. today, it’s impacts along the way and what
intergalactic survey teams were dominated About half of the predictions had quanti- it might be tomorrow. Each of you is, of
by geologists. I was hooked on the story tatively overestimate or underestimated course, responsible for your own vision of
when the first chapter had the team leader improvements in specific technologies. the future but I think all the thoughts
classifying the planet based on the degree The rest of the predictions, however, expressed by these papers should give you
of plate tectonic activity. In this future, the included technologies that either had lots of food for thought or indigestion.
best people to estimate the value of a new never developed or conversely had com- These papers are located at the listed
planet were those that understood earth pletely missed identifying, something that links. I think discussing them would make
science. This is of course only one possibil- was having a major impact in 1995. a very interesting graduate seminar.
ity of the future of geology and geologists The question of the future of sedimen-
(stick them all in space ships). What do tary geology or aspects of it has also been Howard Harper, Executive Director, SEPM
you think about the future role of geology evaluated several times over that last few
and geologists and especially the future of years.
sedimentary geology? I, respectfully, decline to put my own 1. Sedimentary Systems in Space and Time (1999) NSF
For some of my time at ARCO, I was particular view on the future in print (I 2. Dynamic History Of The Earth-Life System (1999) NSF
assigned to a study to forecast geoscience will only discuss it in very small groups
technologies. Essentially, we were asked to and it changes each time). However, I will 3. A Vision for Geomorphology and Quaternary Science
Beyond 2000 (1999) NSF
predict the future improvement of tech- give you a very nice, small, package of ref-
nology and its impact on the petroleum erences putting forth group and individual 4. The Future of Applied Sedimentary Geology.
industry. ARCO had done a similar study attempts to describe visions of the future. (2000) W. Schlager.
about 5 years prior to this one. A part of Some include a tapestry of the past 5. Sedimentology and the Oil and Gas Industry.
the new study was to evaluate the accuracy improvements, telling the story of how (2001) W. Schollnberger.
of the previous predictions. Overall, the sedimentary geology got to be what it is

May 2003 | 11
new from the

SEPM Special Publication #74:
Paleoz oic Carbonates of the
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): The following “Out of Print” Special
Publications have been re-released
Subsurface reservoirs and Outcrop Analogs
on CD:
Edited By: William G. Zempolich and
Harry E. Cook Special Publication 42 on CD
For decades virtually all of the former USSR was closed to non- Sea-Level Changes:
Soviet bloc geologists for conducting collaborative geologic studies. An Integrated Approach
The Paleozoic carbonate systems of the CIS are scientifically Originally published in 1988; edited by:
important because they include many of the world stratotype C.K. Wilgus, B.S. Hastins, H. Posamentier,
localities, including the Cambrian-Odovician boundary and many stages of the Carboniferous and J. Van Wagoner, C.A. Ross, and C.G. St. C.
Permian. Moreover, Paleozoic carbonates of the CIS provide a considerable record from which to Kendall
evaluate the evolution of reef-building organisms through time, variations in paleoclimate, changes in Catalog Number: 41042;
global sea level, paleotectonics, and secular variation in the composition of ancient sea water, and ISBN 1-56576-089-1; List Price:
primary mineralogy of marine carbonate precipitates. All of these variables have a major impact on $40.00; SEPM-Member Price $25.00
the sedimentation, accumulation, and diagenesis of carbonate rockes, and thus a better understand-
ing of carbonate systems of the CIS will advance our general knowledge of carbonate sedimentology. Special Publication 51 on CD
Catalog Number: 40074; ISBN 1-56576-083-2; Incised-Valley systems: O
ncised-Valley rigin
List Price: $100.00; SEPM-Member Price: $75.00 and Sedimentary Sequences
Originally published in 1994; edited by:
R.W. Dalrymple, R. Boyd, and B.A. Zaitlin
SEPM Special Publication #73: Catalog Number: 41051;
Sedimentation in Continental Rifts ISBN 1-56576-090-5; List Price:
Edited By: Robin W. Renaut and Gail M. Ashley $40.00; SEPM-Member Price $25.00
Sedimentation in Continental Rifts presents new approaches
and insights into tectonic and structural controls of sedimenta- Special Publication 54 on CD
tion. Other topics included are lacustrine and fluviatile Geochr onology
onology,, Time Scales, and
depositional environments and some lesser-known settings, such Global Stratigraphic Correlation
as springs, wetlands, and paleosols. Several papers consider the Originally published in 1995; edited by
behavior of silica in rift lakes, particularly the roles of microorgan- W.W. Berggren, D.V. Kent, M-P. Aubry,
isms in silica precipitation, whereas others examine the and J. Hardenbol
paleoenvironmental importance of freshwater carbonates. The contents of the volume show Catalog Number: 41054;
that sedimentological research in rift basins has progressed beyond basic facies description and ISBN 1-56576-091-3; List Price:
general models, and is now focused on understanding the integrative effects of physical, $40.00; SEPM-Member Price $25.00
chemical and biological processes in rifts.
The volume will appeal to sedimentologists and stratigraphers working in modern and Special Publication 60 on CD
ancient rift basins and other continental environments, limnogeologists, petroleum geologists, Mesozoic and Cenozoic Sequence
structural geologists and geophysicists, and those from the paleoanthropology and archeology Stratigraphy of European Basins
communities working on East African hominids. Originally publised in 1998; Edited by:
Catalog Number 40073; ISBN 1-56576-082-4; Pierre-Charles de Graciansky, Jan Hardenbol,
List Price: $140.00; SEPM-Member Price: $100.00 Thierry Jacquin, and Peter Vail
Catalog Number: 41060;

Coming Soon: ISBN 1-56576-093-X; List Price:

$60.00, SEPM-Member Price $45.00
SEPM Special Publication #75
Micropaleontological Proxies for Sea-Level Change
Edited by: Hilary Clement Olson and R. Mark Leckie
to order online, visit:
Catalog Number 40075; ISBN 1-56576-084-0