Drilling to Decipher Long-Term Sea-Level Changes and Effects

October 8-10, 2007 – Salt Lake City, Utah
Convener: Craig Fulthorpe


Results of scientific drilling during the last fifteen years, coupled with the advent of new drilling technologies, provide the impetus for reassessing the strategies for understanding global sea-level change and its impact on the stratigraphic record.

The principal objectives of sea-level research are identified as:

  • Determining the pattern of global sea-level change (eustasy) through Earth history and identifying and quantifying the mechanisms responsible for eustatic change through geological time. Determination of eustatic timing, amplitudes and rates are essential prerequisites to assessing mechanisms, as is incorporation of results derived from proxy records.
  • Defining the sedimentary and sequence stratigraphic responses to eustatic change in siliciclastic, carbonate and mixed depositional settings. This also necessitates deciphering the complex interactions between eustasy and local processes, particularly rates of vertical tectonism (uplift, subsidence) and sediment supply.

Scientific drilling is an essential tool for achieving these objectives because sediments representing key paleoenvironments and time periods are seldom adequately exposed in outcrop. Furthermore, outcrop sections cannot sufficiently constrain the three dimensionality of stratigraphic architecture that is characteristic of passive margins and other sedimentary basins.

Workshop Report (pdf)
Scientific Drilling Article (pdf)


Craig Fulthorpe (co-chair), University of Texas at Austin
Ken Miller (co-chair), Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Andre Droxler (co-chair), Rice University
Gilbert Camoin, CEREGE
Stephen Hesselbo, University of Oxford


Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program – Management International (IODP-MI)
International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP)
Drilling, Observation, and Sampling of the Earth’s Continental Crust (DOSECC)
Chevron Corporation