Continental margins are complex regions of the Earth, because they are the interface between terrestrial and marine environments. Many natural processes occurring on land or in the ocean combine to influence continental margins. Commonly, these processes are accentuated on margins; for example: fluvial discharge reaches its maximum at river mouths: many physical oceanographic processes (e.g., tides, surface gravity waves) are intensified by shallowing water depths. Consequently, the processes affecting the fate of sedimentary particles are diverse and energetic, and superposition (often with nonlinear coupling) of relevant processes makes stratigraphic investigation difficult. However, such investigation is worth the effort, because the record of processes operating on continental margins is frequently preserved in the strata formed at the seabed. Therefore the history for many of the events influencing the Earth (both on land and in the ocean) can be unraveled by carefully documenting and accurately interpreting sedimentary strata on continental margins. Accomplishing this for two distinctly different study areas—northern California and New Jersey—is a general goal of the STRATAFORM program.