Several stratigraphic sequences in the Upper Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) in Kansas (Midcontinent, USA) were analyzed quantitatively for periodic repetitions. The sequences were coded by lithologic type into strings of datasets. The strings then were analyzed by an adaptation of a one-dimensional Fourier transform analysis and examined for evidence of periodicity. The method was tested using different states in coding to determine the robustness of the method and data. The most persistent response is in multiples of 8-10 ft (2.5-3.0 m) and probably is dependent on the depositional thickness of the original lithologic units. Other cyclicities occurred in multiples of the basic frequency of 8-10 with persistent ones at 22 and 30 feet (6.5-9.0 m) and large ones at 80 and 160 feet (25-50 m). These levels of thickness relate well to the basic cyclothem and megacyclothem as measured on outcrop. We propose that this approach is a suitable one for analyzing cyclic events in the stratigraphic record.
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Harmonic Analysis of Sedimentary Cyclic Sequences in Kansas, Midcontinent, USA