Stratigraphy commonly is interpreted within hierarchical, or scale dependent, frameworks that subdivide deposits based on interpretations of distinct jumps in characteristics at certain scales. Here Straub and Pyles use the compensation index to describe the architecture of stratigraphy exposed in outcrops of submarine-fan strata in the Carboniferous Ross Sandstone representing contrasting architectural styles, including predominantly lobe elements and predominantly channel elements. Results indicate statistically significant increases in the strength of compensation across larger hierarchical levels, consistent with hierarchical interpretations of stratigraphy, and that lobe elements stack more compensationally than channel elements. The results are interpreted to reflect compensation increases along a longitudinal transect through this distributive submarine fan, and that some characteristics of sedimentary systems are hierarchical, whereas others are fractal.
Quantifying the hierarchical organization of compensation in submarine fans using surface statistics by Kyle M. Straub and David R. Pyles