Most facies-association models in the literature are inadequate for anything more than a very general qualitative environmental interpretation because: (i) the deposits are normally represented in only one or two vertical sections, normal and parallel to the flow direction; (ii) the information shown in these two-dimensional sections lacks critical detail of the spatial variation of strata thickness and orientation, grain size, internal structures, paleocurrents, and biological features; (iii) the nature of preservation of the strata is not indicated, because the models are not dynamic; and (iv) the models are purely qualitative and many do not even contain scales. The reasons for this state of affairs are: (i) incomplete knowledge of depositional environments (ii) incomplete knowledge of the evolution of depositional environments and their deposits over time periods in excess of a few hundred years; and (iii) uncertainties in translating essentially two-dimensional (parallel to land surface) information representing a single snapshot in time into a fully three-dimensional dynamic model.I really agree with Bridge's comments and strongly believe that the principal focus on descriptive and qualitative, amplified by the proliferation of conceptual models in sedimentary geology was and is detrimental to the advancement of the science. Which reminds me of a Twitter exchange I had with @clasticdetritus a while ago. It started from my venting over how overwhelmingly descriptive and qualitative sedimentary geology is, and how beneficial would be to have a much stronger link between designing (quantitative) experiments to test concepts. The Twitter thread is shown below, in "proper stratigraphic order", with the newest comment at the top.
This was a fun exchange, unfortunately for me it was so late in the day, and the 140 character limitation was not helping.
There is a solution to this problem, and I will cite again from Bridge, because he expressed it so well:
The solution to these problems require much more serious, comprehensive studies of modern processes and deposits, supplemented by scale-model experimentation and quantitative theoretical modelingWhat are your thoughts on this?