Systems tract (Brown and Fisher, 1977): a linkage of contemporaneous depositional systems, forming the subdivision of a sequence.

A systems tract includes all strata accumulated across the basin during a particular stage of shoreline shifts. Systems tracts are interpreted based on stratal stacking patterns, position within the sequence, and types of bounding surfaces. The timing of systems tracts is inferred relative to a curve that describes the base-level fluctuations at the shoreline.

Systems tracts are inter-preted based on stratal stacking patterns, position within the sequence and types of bounding surfaces, and are assigned particular positions along an inferred curve of base-level changes at the shoreline. Each systems tract is defined by a specific type of stratal stacking pattern, closely associated with a type of shoreline shift (i.e., forced regression, normal regres-sion, or transgression), and represents µa specific sedi-mentary response to the interaction between sediment flux, physiography, environmental energy, and changes in accommodation¶ (Posamentier and Allen, 1999). The lowstand and the shelf-margin systems tracts are similar concepts, as being both related to the same portion of the reference sea-level curve (the stage of fall²early rise), so they were used interchangeably as part of a depositional sequence (Vail, 1987; Posamentier and Vail, 1988; Vail et al., 1991). A sequence composed of lowstand, transgressive and highstand systems tracts was defined as a µtype 1¶ sequence, whereas a combination of shelf-margin, transgressive and high-stand systems tracts was said to have formed a µtype 2¶ sequence (Posamentier and Vail, 1988). The lowstand systems tract, as defined by Posamentier et al. (1988), includes a µlowstand fan,¶ accumulated

offlapping slope wedges) and allo-chthonous gravity-flow (slope and basin-floor fans) facies. and a µlowstand wedge. whereas the lowstand wedge systems tract includes part of the aggradational fill of incised valleys. The lecture seen in the movie involves a geologic model that makes the following assumptions:: y y y Sea level position varied Subsidence was constant Sediment supply was constant The sequence is divided by surfaces system tracts. and a progradational wedge which may downlap onto the basin-floor fan (Posamentier and Vail.during falling sea level. The systems tracts defined in order of deposition to form the ideal sequence are: y y y y Early Phase Lowstand System Tract Late Phase Lowstand Systems Tract Transgressive Systems Tract Highstand Systems Tract Early Phase Lowstand System Tract is associated with: y y y y Falling stage of relative sea level induced by eustasy falling rapidly and/or tectonic uplift outpacing the rate of change in sea level position Fluvial incision up dip with formation of an unconformity or sequence boundary and the focus of sediment input at the shoreline Forced regressions induced by the lack of accommodation producing stacking patterns of downward stepping prograding clinoforms over the condensed section formed during the previous transgressive and highstand systems tracts Slope instability caused by the rapid deposition of sediment from the fluvial systems . 1.¶ repre-senting deposition during sea-level lowstand and early rise (depositional sequence II in Fig. The lowstand fan systems tract consists of autochthonous (shelf-perched deposits.7). 1988). Thus system tract sediments can be considered as sedimentary units that were deposited synchronously and can be mapped as being enclosed by continuous surfaces that extend from subaerial and to sub-aqueous settings. Each systems tract is represented by a collection of the sediments of the associated sedimentary depositional systems that were active during the different phases of base level change.

essentially a still stand of base level when the slower rate eustatic change balances that of tectonic motion Sediment outpacing loss of accommodation . become thicker upward and landward Transgressive Systems Tract is associated with: y y y y A rapid relative sea level rise above the shelf margin occurs when eustasy begins to rise rapidly. aggrade. Highstand Systems Tract is associated with: y y Slow rise of relative sea level followed by a slow fall.y y y y y y Basin floor fans formed from sediment transported from the shelf margin when this fails under the weight of the rapid sediment accumulation associated with the forced regression Shelf margin and slope fans form when rates of sedimentation slows and slope instability is reduced so sediment is not displaced so far downslope Onlap of sediments onto the prograding clinoforms below the shelf break The lower bounding surfaces of the Early Phase Lowstand System Tract are the updip unconformity and the top of the downdip condensed section. exceeding the effects of any tectonic uplift Condensed sequences are often composed of sediment layers rich in the tests of fauna that are no longer masked by sediment accumulation because sedimentation rates are very slow in response to the greater area of sea floor exposed to sedimentation Ravinement erosion surface formed when the transgressing sea reworks either the prior sequence boundary or the sediments that may have collected during the forced regression that may have followed the formation of that sequence boundary. These surfaces form by different mechanisms and have different time significance The top of the downdip condensed section immediately underlies the downlapping prograding clinoforms of the forced regression The top of the Early Phase Lowstand System Tract in theory is marked by an initial onlap onto the often eroded surface of the prograding clinoforms of the forced regression Late Phase Lowstand Systems Tract is associated with: y y y y y A slow relative sea level rise is induced when eustasy begins to rise slowly and/or tectonic uplift slows Sediment is now outpaced by an increase in accommodation and in response the sediment begins to onlap onto the basin margin River profiles stabilize Valleys backfill Prograding lowstand clinoforms form and are capped by topset layers that onlap. Maximum flooding surface forms when the last fine-grained widespread transgressive sediment collects before the High Stand builds out over it.

The characterization of the boundary between Falling Stage Systems Tract (Plint and Nummendal. Stacking patterns of parasequences of the Lowstand Systems Tract exhibit backstepping onlapping retrogradational aggrading clinoforms that thicken updip capturing the effect of the rate of rise in relative sea level is greater than the rate sediment accumulation. It often forms a prograding wedge at the base of a shelf margin with its lower boundary onlapping onto the prograding clinoforms (see animated gif) and/or downlapping onto a downslope fan. The depositional setting of this onlapping Lowstand Systems Tract wedge occurs below the shelf margin break. Prograding highstand clinoforms develop capped by aggrading topsets that become thinner upward. 2000. Coe et al. This systems tract is commonly widespread on the shelf and may be characterized by one of more aggradation to progradational parasequence sets with prograding clinoform geometry. 2000) . or the Early Lowstand Systems Tract (Posamentier and Allen. and/or submarine. The base of this systems tract is formed by the maximum flooding surface (mfs) over which the Highstand Systems Tract sediments prograde and agrade. 1999). The upper boundary of the Lowstand Systems Tract is marked by the development of the Transgressive Surface that steps up onto the shelf margin (see animated gif). 2002). This system tract is represented by the sedimentary accumulation that straddes the lowest position of the relative sea level curve. The regressive deposits that form when sediment accumulation rates exceed the rate of relative sea-level rise and increase in accommodation constitutes the upper systems tract in either a type 1 or type 2 sequence.y y y y River Profiles stabilize River valleys are dispersed laterally in a position landward of the shelf margin. This change in sediment geometry can be explained as occuring when accommodation starts to expand in response to a relative rise in sea level that occurs when a rise eustasy exceeds the rate of subsidence. and the overlying sediments becomes "fuzzy" if the onlapping wedge of the Lowstand Systems Tract fills incised valleys and becomes subaerial. the depth of water in the adjacent basin determines whether the sediments are subaerial. This subaerial onlap might be equated by some with the . The top of this systems tract is formed by the eroded unconformity surface that develops when a sea level fall initiates erosion of the now subaerial Highstand system sediment surface and the start of the Falling Stage Systems Tract. They onlap the sequence boundary in a landward direction and downlap the top of the Transgressive and/or Lowstand Systems Tracts in a basinward direction LST Throughout this web site it is proposed that the Lowstand Systems Tract is bounded by the Falling Stage Systems Tract and the Transgressive Systems Tract (Plint and Nummedal.

and lowstand wedge. slope fan. These latter often filling incised valleys that cut down into the Highstand Systems Tract.Transgressive Systems Tract. and slope fans while. This systems tract is equated with development of limited accomodation associated with a small rise relative rise sea level during an essetnially lowstand of the sea. the Lowstand Systems Tract sediments now form lowstand wedges. They refer to the Falling Stage Systems Tract as the Early Lowstand Systems Tract. This onlap of fluvial and coastal plain deposits has been defined as "coastal" onlap by Mitchum (1977). . . this "old Lowstand Systems Tract" is now divided into the Falling Stage Systems Tract with its basin-floor fans. as indicated above. Posamentier and Allen (1999) refer to the Lowstand System Tract defined above as the Late Lowstand Systems Tract. as defined by Posamentier and Allen (1999). On this web site these latter onlapping strata are only referred to as a part of the Transgressive Systems Tract when they rise above the shelf break. included the deposits that accumulated after the onset of relative sea-level fall directly on the sequence boundary over the Highstand Systems Tract as a basin-floor fan. Traditionally the sediments of the Lowstand Systems Tract. It is recognized that in outcrop and wells it may be nearly impossible to determine if this onlapping occurs below or above the shelf margin break. As can be recognized on this web site.


An mfs can often be the only portion of a sedimentary cycle which is rich in fauna.Maximum Flooding Surface (MFS) A surface of deposition at the time the shoreline is at its maximum landward position (i. The mfs is not commonly burrowed or bored. Any burrowing or . 1977). it is often expressed as a downlap surface. There are commonly widespread thin bedded concentrations of fauna (condensed sections) with high abundance and diversity. glauconite. and hardgrounds. the time of maximum transgression) (Posamentier & Allen. An mfs is often characterized by the presence of radioactive and often organic rich shales.e. Often in a landward direction the maximum flooding surface may match the underlying trangressive surface formed during or just after the inital transgressive phase that immediately follow sea level lowstands. In this case Glossifungites burrows may occur within this surface. 1999) The surface marks the time of maximum flooding or transgression of the shelf and it separates the Transgressive and Highstand Systems Tract. These fine sediments make up the condensed section (Mitchum. Marine shelf and basinal sediments associated with this surface are the result of slow rates of deposition by pelagic-hemipelagic sediments and they are usually thin and fine grained. Seismically.

2006). The TS. If no lowstand or falling stage systems tract facies are preserved above the sequence boundary. If the rate of sediment supply is low over the transgressive surface this may merge landward with the maximum flooding surface. or lag. maximum flooding surface . When a TS extends over LST valley fill. marks the onset of the period when the rate of creation of accommodation space is greater that the rate of sediment supply. 1996). sorted and often conglomeratic ravinement sediment. For instance Glossifungites burrows are found penetrating the firm grounds and are often filled by an overlying widespread winnowed. A TS is often characterized by the presence of a surface marked by consolidated muds of firmgrounds or hardgrounds that are cemented by carbonates.boring are likely connected to the preceding transgressive surface before the water deepens and conditions become inimical for colonization but favour preservation. It is synomous with the maximum transgressive surface (HellandHansen and Martinsen.. the response on the resistivity log curve may show a small local increase resistivity followed by a low. This increase in resitivity is in response to the carbonate cementation of the hardground.g. the rate of sediment supply may keep pace with the rate of relative sea-level rise and thus the TS will mark a change from a progradational to an aggradational parasequence stacking patterns. downlapped by highstand normal regressive strata (Catuneanu. while the low is associated with deposition of trangressive shales. The mfs often mark the bounding surface between coarsening and/or fining upward cycles and are used to relate these cycles to deepening and shallowing in the geological section. 1993) at the top of retrogradational strata. e. The TS often marks the base of the most prominent onlap. final transgressive surface (Nummedal et al. Transgressive Surface This is a marine-flooding surface that forms the first significant flooding surface in a sequence. Cemented surfaces may be colonized and bored by a Trypanites ichnofacies and infilled by the sediments associated with the base of the transgressive system tract and are often wave winnowed. on rimmed carbonate platforms. It forms the base of the retrogradational parasequence stacking patterns of the Transgressive Systems Tract. in most siliciclastic and some carbonate successions. Both surfaces are often penetrated by either burrowing or boring organisms. In areas of high sediment supply. the TS may coincide with this boundary.

The maximum flooding surface represents a change from retrogradational to progradational parasequence stacking patterns. thereby representing a considerable span of time by only a thin layer. the shales that immediately overlie the maximum flooding surface commonly have different characteristics than other shales and can often be recognized on the basis of resistivity. gamma ray. On wireline logs. fossils and organic. condensed section In sequence stratigraphy. such as abundant burrowing. . It commonly displays evidence of condensation or slow deposition. In such cases they are associated with "maximum flooding surfaces" and form important sequence stratigraphic markers. a section of fine-grained sedimentary rocks that accumulated slowly. The surface also marks the deepest water facies within a sequence. These shales can also be recognized by electrofacies analysis when the analysis is designed to do so.A widespread marine flooding surface that separates the underlying transgressive systems tract from the overlying highstand systems tract. neutron and density logs. mineralization and fossil accumulations. Condensed sections are most commonly deposited during transgressions. hardgrounds. In condensed sections. phosphatic and glauconitic material tend to be concentrated compared with rapidly deposited sections that contain few fossils.