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One of the difficult concepts for students to understand is how stacked parasequences form and what they tell us about the interaction between relative sea-level change and sediment supply. A dated but easily manipulated (and free) modeling program (Fuzzim) allows the creation of increasingly complex depositional scenarios. A single parasequence generated over one sea-level cycle demonstrates the relationship between the rate of sea-level rise and transgression/regression. By superimposing shorter sub-cycles, the model builds aggrading, prograding and retreating depositional packages. The sea-level curve, initial topography (e.g., ramps vs. more abrupt shelf margins), and sediment supply can be easily modified by the instructor or the student. Students work through basic model set-up and complete several model runs. They are encouraged to modify input conditions and explore the effects on sedimentary output. The goal is to develop an intuitive understanding of how large-scale sedimentary cycles relate to the interplay between sea level and sediment supply. In the course at Oberlin College, model output is used in conjunction with a Walther's Law exercise (will be available) and a week-end field trip where the sedimentary cycles generated by the model can be observed in outcrop. This approach integrates the use of hand samples, thin sections, and outcrop observation to provide a hands-on connection to the more abstract concepts developed by the models.
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