One of the many attractions of geoscience is the necessity to make predictions. That it is to say, to take observations made at a certain locality and extrapolate the inferences into areas where there is little or no data. For example, consider the Black Sea, a basin with limited data over an area that covers 423,000 km2, and that contains a sedimentary thickness of up to 14 km. Data from the margins of the basin, for example from the Pontides or the Caucasus, can be used to determine the timing and nature of the sedimentary fill, but to do so, the context of regional geology is needed. Similarly, much of the geology of the Arabian Plate is known from outcrops mostly on the margins of the plate, and subsurface penetrations. Once again, a methodology is required to join this data together and predict between datapoints.
Two aspects of regional geology are key. Firstly, an understanding of the tectonic evolution of the region in question. This can be obtained from an integration of a geodynamic plate model with observations from the rock record. Deep seismic records also help elucidate tectonic history. Secondly, the application of a biostratigraphically-constrained sequence stratigraphic model that provides a high-resolution framework for correlation and implies a predictable stratigraphic architecture. Using such tools, geoscientists can utilise and integrate all the data at their disposal to make predictions into the unknown. These can be expressed as palaeogeographic maps with consequent application in the search for resources and carbon repositories.