Hiatal surfaces in carbonate strata are ubiquitous, based on long-term accumulation rates that are orders of magnitude slower than instantaneous rates of sediment production and accumulation. Ten years ago, Burgess and Wright used a numerical model of peritidal carbonate systems to explore the lateral extent, thickness, and completeness of facies. The results of these experiments reveal how variable processes of production, transport, erosion, and accumulation create complex facies patterns, although complexity can be modified by feedbacks within the depositional system. Burgess and Wright concluded that preserved strata represent punctuated deposition, driven by interactions between stochastic and deterministic processes, and thus the stratigraphic record is more complex than suggested by conventional sequence stratigraphic models.
Numerical Forward Modeling of Carbonate Platform Dynamics: AnEvaluation of Complexity and Completeness in Carbonate Strata, by Peter M. Burgess and V. Paul Wright, Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 73, p. 637-652.