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Turbidite Facies Associations

T.H. Nilsen
T.H. Nilsen
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January 01, 1984


There are three major turbidite facies associations: slope, deep-sea fan, and basin-plain (Fig. 9-1). These can be subdivided, from generally most “proximal” to most “distal”, into: (1) upper slope, (2) lower slope, (3) submarine canyon, (4) inter-fan channel, (5) middle-fan channel, (6) levee, (7) interchannel, (8) outer-fan lobe, (9) fan-fringe, and (10) basin plain. In addition to these, the channel-mouth bar, crevasse-splay, and basin-plain superbed facies associations can also be defined.

The Mutti and Ricci Lucchi (1972) model appears to work very well for most ancient deep-sea fan systems. It can be modified slightly to fit other fan systems, but it cannot be used as a satisfactory model for all ancient turbidite systems. It seems to be most applicable to fans fed by a single submarine canyon in which the sediment transported through the feeding canyon consists of a mixture of sand, silt, and clay sizes. In a subsequent section (Chapter 10), I will try to discuss settings and situations in which the Mutti and Ricci Lucchi (1972) model does not apply so well, and some examples of other models that may be more applicable to these systems. Most fundamental to the recognition of various types of turbidite systems, however, is the application of Facies A-G; because the facies are based on descriptive rather than generic characteristics; they are applicable to all models and possibly to future models that can be developed for deep-marine clastics.

The Mutti and Ricci Lucchi (1972) model consists of two major types of deposits, channelized

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SEPM Short Course Notes

Modern and Ancient Deep-Sea Fan Sedimentation

C. Hans Nelson
C. Hans Nelson
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Tor H. Nilsen
Tor H. Nilsen
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
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Publication date:
January 01, 1984




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