ZOOM WEBINAR PRESENTATION
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Abstract: Almost universally, geoscientists interpreting the stratigraphic record infer processes based on incomplete data; in such settings, conceptual models provide an important framework for organizing observations, generating interpretations, and making predictions. As powerful as these conceptual models may appear, they should be able to withstand independent testing, such as being consistent with the laws of physics. The purpose of this presentation is to start a discussion regarding two conceptual paradigms prominent in sedimentary geology: 1) that unfilled atoll lagoons represent a transient state, destined to be filled by debris from their annular reef, and 2) that fair-weather and storm wave bases represent consistent, objectively definable datums for facies and stratigraphic interpretation. Simple numerical hydrodynamic simulation models reveal several insights that cast doubt on the plausibility of these paradigms, in stark contrast with their widespread application in stratigraphic interpretations.
Biography: Gene Rankey is Professor of Geology at the University of Kansas, where he serves as Co-Director of the Kansas Interdisciplinary Carbonates Consortium. His research program focuses on unravelling and quantifying the nature and controls on variability in surface processes and geomorphic forms in tropical marine and nearshore sedimentary systems. It emphasizes field study of modern ramps and atolls, where both process (waves, tides, chemistry, etc.) and product (e.g., sediment, biota, geomorphology) can be observed, and their relations rigorously evaluated and numerically modelled. Recent field areas range from the Pacific (Kiribati, French Polynesia, Cook Islands), to Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia), to the Caribbean (Bahamas, Yucatan, Mexico, Turks and Caicos). Beyond efforts that focus on modern systems, the research has direct application to understanding geologic analogs in the stratigraphic record via development of testable quantitative and conceptual models for the origin and heterogeneity of the stratigraphy of ancient carbonate reef, shoal, ramp, and platform successions. Key means include high-resolution, sequence-based analysis of subsurface analogs using core, log, and seismic data, and includes recent efforts in Malaysia, Kansas, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. Rankey has served as editor of Journal of Sedimentary Research and numerous books, and as associate editor of Sedimentology, Journal of Sedimentary Research, and Geological Society of America. He has won several awards for Outstanding Paper (2002, 2008, 2010, JSR), and Outstanding Poster (2017, AAPG), and was an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer (2008-2009).