Many dips that appear on a high-resolution dipmeter plot reflect environmental energy conditions existing at the time of deposition rather than structural dip. Beds deposited in a high-energy marine environment tend to exhibit a great scatter of dip magnitudes. Conversely, low energy environments cause “layer-cake” deposition and uniform dip magnitudes. Recent studies have identified 3 distinct environments from dip plots.
The first environment lies between the bench and the seaward edge of the continental shelf. This shoreward energy band shows dip magnitude scatter which can be divided into high, medium, or low dips corresponding to deposition in high-, medium-, or low-energy environments. Most of the energy is supplied by wave and current action.
The second environment lies between the seaward edge of the continental shelf and the abyssal zone. This seaward energy band shows dip magnitude scatter similar to the shoreward energy band. Its high-energy zone is found on the upper slope and the medium-energy zone on the lower slope. Most of the energy is supplied by gravity. Dip patterns are more cyclic in this environment.
The third environment is near an active delta. The rules for water depth identification in the other energy bands do not apply. Beds deposited in such an environment show mainly “current patterns” on the dip plot. The direction of dip of these “current patterns” defines the direction of transport and the dip pattern magnitude indicates the most probable shape of the distributary-front sand body.