1. General Model Information
Name: A Stratigraphic Modeling Package, Release 2.13
Main medium: terrestrial
Main subject: geology
Organization level: landscape
Type of model: 3D
Keywords: geology, Foreland Basins, siliclastic stratigraphy, carbonate stratigraphy, cyclic sedimentation, education, hypothesis testing, visualisation, animation, clastic sedimentation, CaCO3 sedimentation, slope dependent diffusion, meter scale shallowing cycles, forward model, geologic time scale
Peter B. Flemings
Department of Geosciences
Penn State University
442 Deike Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802
John P. Grotzinger
Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Cambridge, MA 02139
905 Main St. #6
Cambridge, MA 02139
Peter B. Flemings, John P. Grotzinger, Jamie Morris
Strata is a basin modeling tool package composed of four programs:
Excerpt from the GSA Paper on STRATA:
- Setbasin is the pre-processor, for loading and editing
the basin's parameters.
- Simbasin is the processor, for simulating the basin defined
by those parameters.
- Plotbasin is the post-processor, for displaying the
- Filmbasin is a special utility that interfaces the processing and
post-processing to make a movie.
With the caveat that forward models are no better than their assumptions,
either explicit or implied, stratigraphic modeling provides an objective basis
for researchers to independently test hypotheses conceived in the field, or
for teachers to illustrate complex sequence stratigraphic concepts with a
minimum exposure to terminology. From a pedagogical perspective, an
important advantage of forward models is that they can illustrate
stratigraphic development through time, whereas the rock record provides
only the final result, from which previous stages of evolution must be
It is now generally accepted that the three most important variables
controlling stratigraphic geometry and the distribution of unconformities
are tectonic subsidence, eustacy, and sediment flux (Christie-Blick and
Driscoll, 1995). Simple as it seems, separation of these variables based on
field data alone, or using sophisticated inversion techniques (Kominz and
Bond, 1990), can be troublesome (Kendall and Lerche, 1988). In contrast,
forward numerical modeling provides the user with clear information
about what the role and relative importance of the different variables can
be. Despite their simplicity, forward models produce remarkably realistic
results and generate many of the characteristics commonly observed in the
In this paper, we use STRATA to describe and illustrate several classic
problems in both siliciclastic and carbonate stratigraphy that are still
debated. We hope that these simple examples will serve as a foundation for
other workers to use this stratigraphic model in their own efforts to
understand the stratigraphic record."
II. Technical Information
Operating System(s): Strata has been successfully used on some DEC MIPS Ultrix, HP/UX v9, SGI, AIX, NetBSD,Linux, Solaris, and SunOS systems; the latter two platforms probably offer the most stability, beingthe main development environments. It ought to work in UNIX and UNIX-like systems ingeneral. Strata is not available for other systems (e.g. MS Windows, Macintosh).
Programming Language(s): Strata is written in C with X Windows graphics (using the X Toolkit and the Athena Widget set,both of which are part of the standard X distribution), development being with X11R5. STRATA download page
online Manual , also available in Postscript and TEX
Some examples can be downloaded (see Source-code and Abstract)
III. Mathematical Information
Discussion of the controlling variables
(see Section III.1) (see Section III.1)
(see Section III.1) (see Section III.1)
(see Section III.1)
Flemings, P.B. and T.E. Jordan 1990 ``Stratigraphic Modeling of Foreland Basins: Interpreting Thrust Deformation and Lithospheric Rheology,'' Geology 18: 430-434.
Flemings, P.B. and T.E. Jordan 1989, ``A Synthetic Stratigraphic Model of Foreland Basin Development,'' Journal of Geophysical Research 94: 3851-3866.
Gildner, R.F. and J.L. Cisne (ed.)1990, ``Quantitative Modeling of Carbonate Stratigraphy and Water-Depth History Using Depth-Dependent Sedimentation Function in Cross, T.A.,'' Quantitative Dynamic Stratigraphy. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Haq, B.U., J. Hardenbol, and P.R. Vail 1987, ``Chronology of fluctuating sea levels since the Triassic,'' Science 235: 1156-1187.
Hart, B.S., P.B. Flemings, and A. Deshpande 1995, ``Porosity and pressure: Role of compaction disequilibrium in the development of geopressures in a GulfCoast Pleistocene basin,'' Geology 23 (1): 45-48.
Jordan, T.E. and P.B. Flemings 1991, ``Large-Scale Stratigraphic Architecture, Eustatic Variation, and Unsteady Tectonism: A Theoretical Evaluation,'' Journal of Geophysical Research, 96 (B4): 6681-6699.
Kaufman, P., J.P. Grotzinger, and D.S. McCormick 1991, ``Depth-dependent diffusion algorithm for simulation of sedimentation in shallow marine depositional systems in Franseen, E.K.,'' in W.L. Watney, C.G.S.C. Kendall, W. Ross (eds.) Sedimentary modeling: Computer simulations and methods for improved parameter definition, Kansas Geological Survey.
Log Interpretation Principle/Application, Schlumberger Educational Services. Houston, 1987.
Pegrum, R.M. and A.M. Spencer 1990, ``Hydrocarbon Plays in the northern North Sea,'' in Brooks, J. (ed.) Classic Petroleum Provinces. Geological Society Special Publication, London.
Ross, W.C., D.E. Watts, and J.A. May 1995, ``Insights from Stratigraphic Modeling: Mud-Limited Versus Sand-Limited Depositional Systems,'' AAPG Bulletin 79(2): 231-258.
Sclater, J.G. and P.A.F. Christie 1980, ``Continental Stretching: An Explanation of the Post-Mid-Cretaceous Subsidence of the Central North Sea Basin,'' Journal of Geophysical Research 85 (B7): 3711-3739.
Turcotte, D.L, and G. Schubert 1982, Geodynamics: Applications of continuum physics to geological problems. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Waples, D.W. 1985, Predicting Thermal Maturity, in Geochemistry in Petroleum Exploration. International Human Resources Development Corporation.
V. Further information in the World-Wide-Web
VI. Additional remarks
Last review of this document by: T. Gabele: 08. 07. 1997 -
Status of the document:
last modified by
Tobias Gabele Wed Aug 21 21:44:50 CEST 2002