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Abstract

Delta systems developed above ductile substrates such as overpressured shales and salt have been modelled using layered sand-packs above ductile silicone polymer layers. Gravity spreading of progradational sedimentary wedges produces delta-top and upper delta-slope grabens linked to delta-toe contractional fold–thrust and diapir zones. The delta-top grabens are bound by both regional and counter-regional listric growth faults. A basinward-stepping sequence of regional, counter-regional followed by regional faulting is commonly developed. Polymer pillows and ridges commonly develop in the footwalls of the major listric extensional faults and may evolve into reactive diapirs. Successive progradational loads generate new delta-top or upper delta-slope graben systems on top of older contractional belts where the ductile polymer layer has been thickened significantly. The analogue model results in cross-section show many similarities to examples of natural deltas and differential sedimentary load systems such as offshore Angola, the Niger and Nile Deltas, Kutai Basin, Kalimantan, the Baram delta, Brunei and the Orinoco delta, Columbus basin and offshore Trinidad.

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