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transition, this report by a panel of the National Research Council's U.S. Geodynamics Committee (USGC) assesses the status, opportunities, and goals for multidisciplinary research on the formation and evolution of sedimentary basins.
Through its survey of current research, the USGC's Panel on the Geodynamics of Sedimentary Basins identified a broad range of research topics focusing on the tectonics of sedimentary basins, the historic record of climate and oceans preserved in basin materials, and fluid and chemical transport in sedimentary basins. In part, this research is driven by the development of new technologies for studying and modeling sedimentary basins. The panel finds that there is an emerging research agenda incorporating the concerns of resource identification and extraction together with the issues of global climate change, fluid flow, and geodynamics.
Today, multidisciplinary research teams are common in basin research. Much of their effort is focused on understanding and predicting
basin formation within the framework of plate tectonics and mantle convection;
hydrocarbon generation and migration during basin evolution;
present and historic ground-water flow and chemical transport;
changes in basin fill and thermal evolution with tectonic environment;
spatial and temporal variations of subsurface porosity and permeability; and
the record of tectonics, climate, and sea-level change preserved in sedimentary basins.
To address these topics, it will be important to develop a broad and integrated research agenda for basin studies because advances in one research area will often rely on advances in distant fields and because of the extreme heterogeneity of basins and basin materials. For this work the panel makes the following recommendations.
Development of a Comprehensive Set of Basin Models. The panel recommends that a focused effort be made to develop a comprehensive set of models for studying the origin and evolution of sedimentary basins. In detail, such models would provide improved understanding of such diverse processes as fluid flow along fractures, the