In this course, students are invited to explore the mechanisms that govern the distribution, architecture, and characteristics of deposits preserved in the geological record at the level of a Master in Science.|
Throughout the thematic treatment described below, students will be confronted with the mechanisms “at work” in modelling exercises both in the silicon environment of numerical modelling as well as the gritty environment of the flume laboratory. These practical exercises will allow the students to strengthen their skills in modeling approaches and data treatment.
An optional three-day fieldtrip to Holocene and Jurassic tidal, coastal and shallow marine deposits will allow the students to use elementary observations on sedimentary facies to build models and interpretations of the evolution of past sedimentary systems.
Early in the course, emphasis is put on the effect the choice of temporal and spatial scales defined by a research question has on our approach to sediment transport dynamics. Following this, the hierarchy and scaling of the architecture of sedimentary successions is investigated. The structure of this architecture will be built on concepts of sequence stratigraphy. Once a clear perspective on the organization of deposits in parasequences, sequences, and shelf-clinoforms has been presented to the student, attention will shift to forcing mechanisms of deposit characteristics within subsets of deposits and depositional environments: Alluvial systems; transgressive systems and highstand deltas; tidal systems; and deep marine depositional systems. The course will conclude by challenging the students to investigate the validity and application of two oft (miss-)used concepts of Earth Sciences: “Walther’s Law”; and “The present is the key to the past”.|