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Newest Releases

SEPM Special Publication #104
New Frontiers in Paleopedology and Terrestrial Paleoclimatology: Paleosols and Soil Surface Analog Systems
Edited by: Steven G. Driese and Lee C. Nordt, with assistance by Paul J. McCarthy
After initial breakthoughs in the discovery of fossil soils, or paleosols in the 1970s and early 1980s, the last several decades of intensified research have revealed the much greater role that these deposits can play in reconstructing ancient Earth surface systems. Research currently focuses on terrestrial paleoclimatology, in which climates of the past are reconstructing at temporal scales ranging from hundreds to millions of years, using paleosols as archives of that information. Such research requires interdisciplinary study of soils conducted in both modern and ancient environments. These issues and many others were discussed at the joint SEPM-NSF Workshop "Paleosols and Soil Surface Analog Systems", held at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona in September of 2010. The papers presented in this volume are largely an extension of that workshop and cover topics ranging from historical perspectives, followed by lessons from studies of surface soil systems, with examples crossing between soils and applications to paleosols. The remainder of the volume begins with an examination of the relationship between paleosols and alluvial stratigraphy and depositional systems, and ends with three case studies of ancient soil systems. Because some readers may find the nomenclature rather "foreign" the editors have included a glossary of pedological terms at the end of this volume. These papers incorporate data from studies of surface soil systems as well as deep-time sedimentary rock successions and are designed to provide sedimentary geologists with an overview of our current knowledge of paleosols and their use in interpreting past climates, landscapes, and atmospheric chemistry.

SEPM Special Publication #103AVAILABLE NOW

Analyzing the Thermal History of Sedimentary Basins: Methods and Case Studies
Edited by: Nicholas B. Harris and Kenneth E. Peters

Thermal histories of sedimentary basins are critical sources of scientific and practical information. They provide us with windows into past and present tectonic processes and the configuration of the crust and mantle. Using records of present and past temperature distributions, we can identify and constrain interpretations of tectonic events, distinguish different basin types and interpret pathways of fluid flow. These insights can be used to calibrate basin and petroleum system models and to interpret and predict the distribution of minerals and petroleum, diagenesis and reservoir quality, and the geomechanical properties of rock units. This volume summarizes the current state of the art for many modern approaches used to estimate paleotemperature. Many techniques are now available based on both organic and inorganic components in the rock. Even techniques that are now many years old, such as apatite fission track analysis, have undergone significant advances in the past decade. This volume provides comprehensive reviews of the fundamental science underpinning each method and the basic principles used to interpret data, as well as case studies illustrating practical applications and the complexity of paleotemperature interpretation. Geoscientists from all sectors will find this volume to a valuable resource in their work.

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SEPM Special Publication #102 - AVAILABLE NOW 

  • Sedimentary Geology of Mars
    Edited by: John P. Grotzinger and Ralph E. Milliken 
Often thought of as a volcanically dominated planet, the last several decades of Mars exploration have revealed with increasing clarity the role of sedimentary processes of the Red Planet. Data from recent orbiters have highlighted the role of sedimentary processes throughout the geologic evolution of Mars by providing evidence that such processes are preserved in a rock record that likely spans a period of over four billion years. Rover observations have provided complementary outcrop-scale evidence for ancient eolian and fluvial transport and deposition, as well as surprisingly Earth-like patterns of diagenesis that involve recyrstallization and the formation of concretions. In addition, the detection of clay minerals and sulfate salts on Mars, coupled with large-scale morphologic features indicative of fluvial activity, indicate that water-rock interactions were once common on the martian surface. This is in stark contrast to the dry and cold surface environment that exists today, in which eolian processes appear to be the dominant mdoe for sediment transport on Mars. These issues and others were discussed at the First International Conference on Mars Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, held in El Paso, Texas in April of 2010. The papers presented in this volume are largely an extension of that workshop and cover topics ranging from laboratory studies of geochemistry of Martian meteorites, to sediment transport and deposition on Mars, to studies of terrestrial analogs to gain insight into ancient Martian environments. These papers incorporate data from recent orbiter and rover missions and are designed to provide both terrestrial and planetary geologists with an overview of our current knowledge of Mars sedimentology as well as outstanding questions related to sedimentary processes on Mars.

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SEPM Special Publication #101 - AVAILABLE NOW 

  • Microbial Mats in Siliciclastic Depositional Systems Through Time
    Edited by: Nora Noffke and Henry Chafetz 
The research field on microbial mats in siliciclastic environmental settings has greatly developed since its establishment by studies of pioneering scientists such as Gisela Gerdes, Wolfgang Krumbein, Jurgen Schieber, David Bottjer and others.  This SEPM Special Publication is the result of the SEPM Research Conference on Sandy Microbial Mats (modern and ancient), which was held in May 21st to 23rd, 2010 at Dinosaur Ridge, Denver, Colorado, USA. The volume presents peer reviewed individual case studies on microbial mats and on sedimentary structures (often called "microbially induced sedimentary structures-MISS") that occur in modern and ancient marine and terrestrial environments. The conference brought together sedimentologists, microbiologists, and paleontologists from 30 countries and all five continents. Topics discussed ranged from the evolution of cyanobacteria, the detection of quorum sensing biofilms to the taxonomy of MISS and microbial mat samples from sediments of the present day. This volume is designed to present the wide spectrum of research in this multidisciplinary scientific field, and to integrate the many different point of views and approaches.

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SEPM Special Publication #100

  • The End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction and the Chicxulub Impact in Texas
    Edited by: Gerta Keller and Thierry Adatte 
One of the liveliest, contentious, and long-running scientific debates began over three decades ago with the discovery of an iridium anomaly in a thin clay layer at Gubbio, Italy, that led to the hypothesis that a large impact caused the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. For many scientists the discovery of an impact crater near Chicxulub on Yucatan in 1991 all but sealed the impact-kill hypothesis as proven with the impact as sole cause for the mass extinction. Ever since that time evidence to the contrary has generally been interpreted as an impact-tsunami disturbance. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has tested this assertion in new cores and a dozen outcrops along the Brazos River, Texas. In this area of undisturbed sediments reveal a complete time stratigraphic sequence containing the primary impact spherule ejecta layer in last Maastrichtian claystones deposited about 200-300 thousand years before the mass extinction. About 60 cm above this level is a submarine channel with lithified spherule-rich clasts at the base followed by two to three reworked impact spherule layers and topped by sandstones. Above this channel deposit late Maastrichtian claystone deposition resumed followed by the KT boundary mass extinction. Brazos River sections thus show three events separated by time - the Chicxulub impact, the reworked spherule layers in a submarine channel, and the KTB mass extinction. In this volume a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the USA, Switzerland, Germany, and Israel carefully documents this evidence based on paleontology, sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy, mineralogy, isotope geochemistry, trace and platinum group element geochemistry. The results are presented in a series of twelve articles with data tables and supplementary materials.

This is a print book with an included DVD with a full color digital version and extended digital appendices

PDF of contents and abstracts