“The Layer Cake Paradox: How Did Patchy Environments Become Uniformly Layered Sediments in the Ancient Marine Deposits of Cincinnati?”
Benjamin Dattilo, Geosciences
A striking characteristic of modern environments is their variability: you cannot swim over the sea floor without seeing small patches. If modern environments are so variable, then the sedimentary record of past environments, facies, should look like a pile of dirty laundry: random stacks of facies patches creating a facies mosaic. Instead, the sedimentary record often consists of neatly stacked sheet-like layers (beds) of rock only centimeters thick that can be traced for tens of kilometers in what is often described as layer-cake. The apparent disconnect between modern environments and the sedimentary record has long been a concern.