San Luis Pass is a microtidal inlet located at the southwest end of Galveston Island, Texas. Continuous cores taken with a portable vibracoring rig, and surface grab samples provide data for developing a 3-dimensional sedimentologic model of the flood-tidal delta complex located landward of the tidal inlet. This model is based on the type, and vertical and lateral distribution of lithologic units, sedimentary structures, textures, and trace fossils.

A complete bayward vertical sequence in the flood-tidal delta complex consists (from base to top) of highly bioturbated bay clays and associated oyster reefs, highly bioturbated clayey sands/sandy clays of the delta margin, variably burrowed sand to shelly sand of the delta, and rooted or burrowed muds of the marsh or mud flat. Washover shell-hash deposits may occur at random intervals throughout this sequence. A more seaward sequence in the vicinity of San Luis Pass consists of a basal tidal inlet deposit of graded layers of sand and shell overlain by burrowed to shelly sand of the barrier spit.

This model for microtidal flood-tidal deltas differs significantly from models presented for mesotidal flood-tidal delta systems in the general lack of large-scale, high-angle sedimentary structures; the presence of intense bioturbation; the presence of washover deposits; and the general upward-coarsening nature of the vertical sequence. Mesotidal flood-tidal deltas with clean, coarse to medium-grained sands may make good petroleum reservoirs. Microtidal flood-tidal deltas with highly bioturbated clayey sands to sandy clays would undoubtedly prove to be poor petroleum reservoirs.

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