Backstripping made easy


Requires macOS 10.12

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. Sound hard? Solving these equations yourself can be, but Backstrip makes it easy.


To get started, enter your data in the table starting with the uppermost unit and working your way down the stratigraphic column. Enter the name of each unit, its thickness and 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 makes a publication-ready plot showing your accommodation history through time, along with an uncertainty envelope. You can save this plot as a pdf, which can be edited in Adobe Illustrator and other graphics programs. You can also save a table of your data for easy import into other programs like R, spreadsheets, and word processors.