In Stratigraphic Systems: Origin and Application, Glenn S.Visher attempts to synthesize and organize the knowledge and integrated interpretation system developed over 35 years in sedimentary analysis. The book sets forth an extremely aggressive agenda: to bring together a knowledge base that includes basin tectonics, stratigraphy, sedimentology paleogeomorphology seismic interpretation, and petroleum geoscience.

The book contains more than 700 figures. An enclosed CD-ROM provides many additional figures, 24 color plates, and an expert system program—DE-EXPERT—developed by Visher and colleagues. Visher's approach is inclusive and emphasizes regional synthesis of multiple data sets. The analysis of stratigraphic systems is condensed into a suite of 15 siliciclastic and 6 biochemical depositional themes that reflect deposition over extended time, geographic area, and depositional settings. The themes are built around geomorphic patterns and basin tectonic contexts. In the end, however, the book is disappointing.