The seminar study area is located on the trailing edge of the North American plate, the coastal plain of South Carolina. The study area is thoroughly documented and offers an excellent opportunity for the students to walk on a variety of modern terrigenous clastic depositional systems while observing sedimentary processes, modern sedimentary structures, and numerous trenches illuminating the three-dimensional architecture of each area. Genetically related depositional environments and their stratigraphic correlation are stressed during the seminar from the standpoint of subsurface interpretation for prospect evaluation and reservoir development. The emphasis of the trip will be on sediments deposited within the past 4,000 years. Field observations will be supported and expanded on by short and focused lectures each morning, a detailed guidebook, and numerous figures and diagrams (posters) used during each field day. In addition, a modern core workshop will be held where the cores will be logged and discussed by the students during class.
The focus of the seminar will be on the three-dimensional characteristics of modern depositional environments and their regional relationship with other depositional environments in the area. This focus will be used to demonstrate how these characteristics and relationships can be used to recognize and delineate similar depositional environments in ancient sedimentary rocks. Additionally, the evolution of Quaternary strata is presented in a chronostratigraphic context. Subsurface data provide lithologic interpretations for progradational (barrier island, deltaic) retrogradational (barrier island, estuarine), and aggradational (valley fill, barrier island) depositional styles. Lateral facies-association and lithofacies changes are discussed from the basin scale (exploration fairways) to the reservoir scale (permeability controls).