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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Brain, M.J. Compaction. In: Shennan, I., Long, A.J. & Horton, B.P. Handbook of Sea-Level Research. Wiley; 2015:452-469.

Author(s) from Durham


Compaction describes a range of processes that reduce the volume of sediments encountered in coastal stratigraphic sequences. Compaction lowers the depositional surface relative to the intertidal frame, distorts stratigraphic sequences and lowers sea-level index points from their depositional altitudes. If not corrected for, this results in errors in estimations of the magnitude and rate of reconstructed sea-level change. If compaction-free (basal) sea-level index points are not available or suitable, geotechnical modeling provides a means of estimating the magnitude of postdepositional lowering of index points. This chapter describes key field and laboratory methods used to quantify compaction and outlines modeling procedures required to ‘decompact’ low energy intertidal stratigraphies.

Department of Geography