Backstripping made easy


Backstripping is a method for calculating the accommodation needed to produce a stratigraphic section, whether through subsidence or eustatic change. It works by removing rock from the top of the column, decompacting all the rocks underneath, and measuring the isostatic response of removing that load from the lithosphere. By progressively removing the uppermost layers of rock until the bottom of the column is reached, it is possible to calculate changes in accommodation over time. Solving these equations yourself can be complicatd, but Backstrip makes it easy.


To get started, enter your stratigraphic column in the table. For each unit, enter its name, thickness, lithology, and estimates of the water depth it was deposited in. Enter unconformities as you go, too, giving them a thickness and water depth of zero. Press the Backstrip button and you’re done.


Backstrip plots your accommodation history through time, along with an uncertainty envelope. You can save this plot as a pdf, which can be edited in many graphics programs. You can also save a table of your data for easy import and analysis in other programs like R, spreadsheets, and word processors.

For more details, check out the Backstrip support page.