AG-823 Sequence Stratigraphy – a Tool for Basin Analysis (10 ECTS)






Autumn semester (August–September), every second year. Cancelled in 2023.

AG-323 ekskursjon i Fleur de Lyshamna i Van Keulen fjorden august 2010.

Grade:Letter grade (A through F)
Course Cost:Fieldwork, NOK 1600 (8 nights x NOK 200 per overnight stay)
Course Capacity Min/Max:10/20 students (AG-323/823 in total)
Language of instruction:English
Examination support material:Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue

Contact person

Course requirements

Enrolment in a PhD programme in geoscience. Students with a PhD project in sedimentology and stratigraphy will be given priority. Good physical condition and ability to walk in steep terrain is necessary.

Academic content

Sequence stratigraphy is one of the main approaches and constitutes a fundamental element in the workflow of assessing subsurface basin fills and reservoirs. The sedimentary successions exposed in Svalbard are a unique laboratory for studying stratigraphic building blocks ranging from facies to sequences. The Svalbard succession will be examined in the field and an in-depth review of recent scientific literature including discussions on currently applied concepts and methods will be given in the classroom.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, the students will:


  • have an in-depth understanding of sequence stratigraphic concepts and methods both for carbonate and siliciclastic rocks and be able to apply this competence in practical characterization, delineation and evaluation of basin fills in general and reservoirs in particular.


  • be fully capable of describing and analysing a sedimentary succession with focus on interpretation of depositional environments and sequence stratigraphy
  • be highly skilled and advanced in identifying genetically related sedimentary units and their intervening discontinuity surfaces
  • have a mature attitude towards how to use evidence for changes in base level and sediment supply within a succession as a tool for stratal correlation and for predicting facies distributions in time and space
  • be well-reflected in evaluating which controls are responsible for stacking and geometry of sedimentary successions.

General competences

  • be fully capable of using the above knowledge and skills in practical work tasks related to reservoir characterization and delineation and basin fill evaluation
  • be trained in logging of sedimentary successions from a whole range of depositional systems and will acquire knowledge about the post-Caledonian succession in Svalbard and its correlation to Barents Sea subsurface geology.

Learning activities

The course extends over about 5 weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AG-323.

Lectures, practical classes and field exercises will focus on the recognition of trends in facies stacking patterns and key stratal surfaces which may be used in sequence delineation and correlation. Field logging will lead to the creation of architectural panels at different scale across sections of the Late Palaeozoic, Cretaceous and Palaeogene of central Spitsbergen with subsequent interpretation of these data in terms of palaeoenvironment and sequence development.

Practical work will include the recognition of sequence architectures through the analysis of well-data and seismic reflection profiles. One lecture day will be allocated for student presentations of central articles. Together this wide range of learning activities will expose the students to many aspects of the subject matter and will equip them with a thorough understanding of sequence stratigraphy.


  • Total lecture hours: 16 hours.
  • Total seminar hours: 14 hours.
  • Fieldwork: 8 days.
  • Project work and preparation for exam: 9 days.

Compulsory learning activities

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

  • Fieldwork
  • Exercises
  • One article presentation in a seminar (30 minutes).


  • All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
  • Each assessment is graded, and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available. 
Percentage of final grade
Written report 40%
Written exam 3 hours60%

Student life

Van Keulenfjorden Svalbard
AG-323/823 fieldwork in Van Keulenfjorden. Photo: Robert Pfau/UNIS.