Sequence stratigraphy and the resolution of the fossil record

Daniele Scarponi, Darrell Kaufman, Alessandro Amorosi, Michał Kowalewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Sequence stratigraphy, a major theoretical achievement of earth sciences, integrates facies associations and stratal architecture within a chronological framework of the geological record. The sequence stratigraphic model implies that sediment supply to the basin, preservation potential of individual horizons, and the resolution of paleontological data co-vary with base-level fluctuations, especially for siliciclastic depositional systems. Using Holocene transgressiveregressive successions of the Po Plain (Italy), we assessed the model's hypotheses by analyzing 249 marine mollusk shells dated individually using 14C-calibrated amino acid racemization methods. As postulated by the model, the temporal resolution of the fossil record, frequency of depositional events, and net accumulation rates decreased upward concomitantly through the transgressive systems tract reaching minima in the condensed section (maximum flooding zone). The reverse trend, with increasingly frequent, thicker, and less time-averaged beds, was observed throughout the overlying highstand systems tract. The results quantify the postulated sequence stratigraphic asymmetry in temporal resolution of the fossil and sedimentary records.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-242
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sequence stratigraphy and the resolution of the fossil record'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this