2012. "Slope Aprons", Application of the Principles of Seismic Geomorphology to Continental Slope and Base-of-Slope Systems: Case Studies from SeaFloor and Near-Sea Floor Analogues, Bradford E. Prather, Mark E. Deptuck, David Mohrig, Berend Van Hoorn, Russell B. Wynn
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The Brazos–Trinity depositional system consists of four linked late Pleistocene intraslope basins (I–IV) located on the upper slope, offshore Texas, U.S.A. Conceptual understanding of the fill history in these basin include “fill and spill” models where basins fill sequentially in the seaward direction, to models which invoke coeval basin filling with the coarse fraction retained preferentially in the up-dip basins and synchronous early bypass of the fine fraction to down-dip basins. Integration of recent coring results with nearly complete 3D seismic coverage has improved age dating and reconstruction of infill history. Initially sediment gravity flows bypassed the upper basins, as they had not yet formed, depositing a basal sandy unit in Basin IV. Higher net/gross sands in Basin II deposited from mixed flows, with mud suspended high within the flows exiting Basin II through a tributary-like flow-gathering zone near the basin exit point. The muddy parts of these flows preferentially accumulated in the lower part of Basin IV, which was a three-dimensionally closed basin with deep ponded accommodation. In contrast, the upper fill in Basin IV comprises a submarine apron that is sourced by a continuous channel system that extends directly from a shelf-margin delta located in Basin I. Within this apron, the observed seaward tapering is controlled by lower-efficiency sandy sediment gravity flows of relatively small volume with respect to basin size. These observations allow us to distinguish perched aprons from ponded aprons, with direct implications for reservoir continuity. We further recognize that low-relief ponded aprons have lower ratios of sand net/gross than either high-relief ponded aprons or perched aprons.