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School of Environment, Education and Development

BSc Geography and Geology with a year abroad / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Sedimentary Basins and Sequence Stratigraphy

Unit code EART30372
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This module covers the origin and nature of sedimentary basins, and their stratigraphic fill.


1. To develop a detailed understanding of how sedimentary basins form, the different types of such basins and the expression and characteristics of these sedimentary basins.

2. To understand how the stratigraphic record within sedimentary basins is formed and preserved and how it responds to intrinsic variability of depositional systems and varying tectonic and climatic processes.

3. To understand the seismic-svcale expression of sedimentary basins and their sedimentary fill.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course you should be able to:

  • 1) Interpret fundamental controls on stratal geometry, facies and facies stacking patterns in terms of changing tectonic, climatic and biological processes.
  • 2) Appreciate why the dominant stratigraphic processes vary in different tectonic and climatic settings
  • 3) Interpret fundamental controls on facies variability in terms of depositional system, basin type, climate forcing mechanisms, palaeoecology, sediment supply and location on sediment transport path.
  • 4) Integrate a wide variety of data to interpret fundamental controls on basin fill including 2D and 3D seismic datasets
  • 5) Analyse and interpret a number of depositional basins, particularly in the UK and Europe in terms of the fundamental stratigraphic controls on their basin fill and resulting palaeoenvironments.
  • 6) Undertake horizon and attribute interpretations of sedimentary systems using modern 3D seismic data


Week 1:

(i) Sedimentary Basins: Formation Mechanism and Classification (KGT)

(ii) Practical: Basin style and classification

Week 2:

(i) Sedimentary basins: Extensionalï¾ï' Basins (KGT)

(ii) Practical: Seismic practical: Structural style and Fill

Week 3:

(i) Sedimentary basins: Compressional Basins (KGT)

(ii) Practical: Seismic practical: Structural style and Fill

Week 4:

(i) Introduction to Stratigraphic concepts (KGT)

(ii) Practical:ï¾ï' Applying sequence stratigraphic principles exercise

Week 5:

(i) Sequence stratigraphy: Parasequences (KGT)

(ii) Practical: Siliclastic sequenc stratigraphic correlations 1

Week 6:

(i) Sequence stratigraphy: sequences and systems tracts (KGT)

(ii) Practical: Siliclastic sequenc stratigraphic correlations 2

Week 7:

(i) Sequence Stratigraphy: Carbonate Successions (SS)

(ii) Practical: Sequence Stratigraphy: Carbonate Successions

Week 8:

(i) Sequence Stratigraphy in Mudstone successions: (KGT)

(ii) Practical: Mudstone Sequence Stratigraphic exercise

Week 9:

(i) 2D reflection seismic imaging of sedimentary basins. (MH)

(ii) Practical: Northern North Sea regional transect

Week 10:

(i) 3D seismic imaging of depositional elements and hydrocarbons (MH)

(ii) Practical: Northern North Sea regional transect

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written exam 70%

Module assessment:

Practical assessments ( 2 practicals, each practical worth 15% of the module mark; outcomes 1, 4, 5 and 6).
2 hour written examination in June. (70%; outcomes 1-6)

Feedback methods

A number of class practicals will be given feedback on at the end of the practical and the student will be given the opportunity to learn where there may be weaknesses in their knowledge. THis will underpin the assessed practicals.
Ideas will be discussed in class and via the discussion section of the blackboard site. Comments on reading material will be provided.
Comments and feedback will be provided on the in-course assessment once it has been marked.

Recommended reading

Course handouts and practical worksheets plus journal references provided in lectures and practicals.

Coe (ed.) 2003. The Sedimentary Record of Sea-Level Change. Cambridge University Press.

Doyle P., Bennett M.R. and Baxter A.N. 2001. The Key to Earth History (2nd Edition). Wiley.

Gawthorpe R.L. and Hunt C. 1997. Dynamic Stratigraphy: Controls and Products, Version 2.0. University of Manchester for UK Earth Science Courseware Consortium, University of Manchester.

Leeder M. 1999 Sedimentology and Sedimentary Basins: From Turbulence to Tectonics. Blackwell. Nichols G. 1999 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy Blackwell.

Posamentier and Allen 1999. Siliciclastic Sequence Stratigraphy – Concepts and Applications. SEPM Concepts in Sedimentology and Paleontology, 7.

Woodcock N. and Strachan R. 2000 Geological History of Britain and Ireland Blackwell.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Practical classes & workshops 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mads Huuse Unit coordinator
Stefan Schroeder Unit coordinator
Ian Kane Unit coordinator

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