1. General Model Information

Name: A Stratigraphic Modeling Package, Release 2.13

Acronym: STRATA

Main medium: terrestrial
Main subject: geology
Organization level: landscape
Type of model: 3D
Main application:
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

Jamie Morris
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:
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 inferred. 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 stratigraphic record. 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

II.1 Executables:

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).

II.2 Source-code:

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

II.3 Manuals:

online Manual , also available in Postscript and TEX

II.4 Data:

Some examples can be downloaded (see Source-code and Abstract)

III. Mathematical Information

III.1 Mathematics

Discussion of the controlling variables

III.2 Quantities

(see Section III.1) (see Section III.1)

III.2.1 Input

(see Section III.1) (see Section III.1)

III.2.2 Output

(see Section III.1)

IV. References

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

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