Comments (here below) to the Reply by Gerta Keller, Thierry Adatte, Gerald Baum, Zsolt Berner, a reply to Comment by Schulte et al., Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2008) in press, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.12.025

5. Sequence Stratigraphy

Sea-level change was not the major topic of our research report and was only used in the discussion and summary Figure 9 to illustrate the depositional environment of the Brazos sections [1]. Yet, Schulte et al. accuse us of violating "well-established sequence stratigraphic concepts," then launch into a lecture on sequence stratigraphy and sea level analysis developed by Baum (one of the authors) and his colleagues at Exxon. They seem shocked that anyone would propose a major sea level fall with a concomitant subaerial unconformity in the late Maastrichtian, followed by a sea level rise through the K/T boundary, yet this has been proposed by various workers [40-44] (Baum pers. comm. to Schulte). The geochemical profiles (stable isotopes, TOC) from the Brazos River cores and outcrop are consistent with both relative and eustatic sea level changes in the Brazos sections [45, 46]. They seem singularly transfixed with Figure 9, centered around incised valleys and the use of the terms transgression and maximum flooding surface (mfs). Concerning the first issue, to our knowledge, none of the developers of sequence stratigraphy ever gave width, length and depth dimensions as criteria for incised valleys. In fact, many of the terms in sequence stratigraphy were purposely "neuter" terms related to geometries and not depositional processes. Moreover, Baum and Vail [40] included incised valleys in both the lowstand and transgressive depositional systems, and sometimes incised-valley-fill can be fairly confidently differentiated [44]. Sometimes arguments ensue where two different terms exist for the same thing or two disparate definitions for the same word, such as transgression. According to Neuendorf et al. [47], transgression can be defined as "spread or extension of the sea over land areas." Jervey [48] has shown that eustatic sea level is rising in the early highstand, but at a lower rate of rise. With this in mind, the early highstand deposits are transgressing. But has the physical stratigraphic framework at the Brazos localities changed or become "erroneous" because transgression is defined differently by Schulte et al.? We think not. Nowhere in our Figure 9 is mfs labeled, but is described in the text as a burrowed omission surface. However, one could presume it to be between TST and HST. Schulte et al. are confused on the meaning/definition of mfs{1}. Baum and Vail [40] preferred to use the physical term, surface of maximum starvation, to separate the transgressive and highstand depositional systems and gave criteria for recognition. They understood that, depending on the basin transect, eustatic sea level and paleo-water depths (relative sea level) typically continue to increase above the physically defined mfs [1, Fig. 9], before falling to the next unconformity/sequence boundary. Not to add to Schulte et al.'s confusion, except for basin floor fans, onlap occurs throughout a complete depositional sequence.
1) We pointed out that in their paper Keller et al 2008 misplaced the maximum flooding surface (see fig9 below), which is drawn at the separation between tst and hst in most textbooks, indeed at the horizon of maximum starvation. What are the criteria to put the mfs at the KT boundary? In no other KT boundary section does any sequence stratigraphic surface, be it a SB, TS or MFS, coincide with the KT boundary
2) But these criteria are nowhere met in the Brazos river sections. The burrowing, spherule clasts and so-called HCS are shown to be erroneous interpretations, so with these criteria gone, there is no justification for this sealevel interpretation. Culvers paper (in Keller et al 2007 referred to as support for the shallowing of the Corsicana below the event beds) is nothing but a compilation of Keller's earlier work, that has been severely criticized. Other workers place a mfs about 5 m below the KT boundary at Brazos (Hoof and Brinkhuis), and the next SB below the littig member (also Vail's preference), about 3.5m above the KT boundary at Brazos-1
Here below follow some comments on the reply by Gerta Keller, Thierry Adatte, Gerald Baum, Zsolt Berner (in Press) 2008 to <<Chicxulub impact predates K-T boundary: New evidence from Brazos, Texas’, a comment by Schulte et al.>> , which is a critique on:
G. Keller, T. Adatte, Z. Berner, M. Harting, G. Baum, M. Prauss, A. Tantawy, D. Stueben, Chicxulub impact predates K-T boundary: New evidence from Brazos, Texas, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 255 (2007) 339-356
In their text, Keller et al place the mfs at K/T, in this figure it is should be between TST and HST (move mouse over)