As an introductory step, this paper defines continental shelves and briefly discusses their origin and evolution. Most of the paper is concerned with the large-scale tidal and storm-driven fluid circulation patterns of the continental shelves and the manner in which these flows entrain and move sediment. It is essential to understand these circulation patterns in order to understand the distribution of facies on continental shelves. However, oceanic currents on a rotating planet are complex and their pattern is not intuitively obvious. Therefore, a considerable portion of the chapter is devoted to an analysis of the mechanisms of shelf flow, and the importance of these mechanisms in determining shelf sediment transport. Storm-driven and tidal currents are considered in turn. The shoreface and inner shelf together constitute a gateway through which all shelf sediments must pass, and the complex flows of the shoreface and inner shelf are described in detail. Finally, fluid and sediment dynamics at the shelf edge are reviewed.
Figures & Tables
Shelf sandstone reservoirs are becoming a more and more common exploration target. What they are, how they may be characterized, and how they differ from shoreline and deep-water deposits in the subject of this publication. Shelf sands and sandstone reservoirs are among the more poorly understood types of sandstones. Continental, shoreline and deep water sandstones have all been studied in much more depth than have shelf sands and sandstones. However, during the last fifteen years significant progress has been made in understanding shelf sands and sandstones. Studies of modern sediments have allowed us to understand many of the depositional processes active on the shelf. This book is intended to be an up-to-date summary of shelf processes and products. The papers are intended for those new to shelf sands and sandstones as well as the shelf specialist.