Depositional architecture and sequence stratigraphic correlation of Upper Ordovician glaciogenic deposits, Illizi Basin, Algeria
Published:January 01, 2012
Jörg Lang, Richard J. Dixon, Daniel P. Le Heron, Jutta Winsemann, 2012. "Depositional architecture and sequence stratigraphic correlation of Upper Ordovician glaciogenic deposits, Illizi Basin, Algeria", Glaciogenic Reservoirs and Hydrocarbon Systems, M. Huuse, J. Redfern, D. P. Le Heron, R. J. Dixon, A. Moscariello, J. Craig
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Upper Ordovician glaciogenic deposits are profoundly important as hydrocarbon reservoirs across North Africa, such as within the Illizi Basin of SE Algeria. In this study we present a new sedimentological and sequence stratigraphic model for Upper Ordovician glaciogenic deposits based on the analysis of core descriptions and wireline logs from 25 wells in the Tiguentourine Field. Within the glaciogenic succession, two ice advance–retreat cycles can be defined, consisting of glaciomarine ice-contact fan deposits and tillites. Deposits of the marine ice-contact fan systems generally show a retrogradational stacking pattern from ice-proximal to ice-distal deposits. This pattern is attributed to the deposition in front of a retreating ice sheet. The proximal marine ice-contact fan deposits consist of massive or low-angle cross-bedded pebbly sandstone. They are interpreted as the deposits of turbulent, high-energy plane-wall jets, emerging from subglacial meltwater conduits. These jet-efflux deposits are up to 60 m thick and interbedded with deposits of cohesive and non-cohesive debris flows. The jet-efflux deposits are overlain by fine-grained, thick-bedded massive sandstone. These mid-fan deposits build up the bulk of the glaciomarine fans and are interpreted as deposits of underflows, generated at the point of flow-detachment, where marine meltwater jets become buoyant and large volumes of sediment fall-out from suspension. In the upper part of the fan succession massive sandstones pass upwards into mud-prone massive sandstones, interpreted as deposits of cohesive sandy debris flows. The most ice-distal deposits are muddy sandstones and mudstones deposited by waning low-density turbulent flows and suspension fall-out. The best reservoir properties within the glaciogenic succession are attributed to the proximal and medial deposits of the ice-contact fans such as coarse-grained jet-efflux deposits and sustained high-density turbulent flow deposits. However, the mud content within the massive sandstones is highly variable and influences the reservoir quality. Both glacial depositional sequences infill 60–175 m deep, elongated depressions, which are interpreted as subglacial tunnel valleys. These tunnel valleys acted as depocentres for the glaciomarine fan deposits. After final deglaciation and post-glacial transgression, organic-rich shale was preferentially deposited in underfilled tunnel valleys.
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Glaciogenic Reservoirs and Hydrocarbon Systems
Glaciogenic reservoirs and hydrocarbon systems occur intermittently throughout the stratigraphic record, with particular prominence in Neoproterozoic, Late Ordovician, Permo-Carboniferous and Late Cenozoic strata. Recent interest in glaciogenic successions has been fuelled by hydrocarbon discoveries in ancient glaciogenic reservoirs in North Africa, the Middle East, Australia and South America. Glaciogenic deposits of Pleistocene age are noteworthy for their content of groundwater onshore and potentially prospective and/or hazardous gas accumulations offshore. The abundant imprints of Pleistocene glaciations in both hemispheres can be used to reconstruct complex histories of repeated ice cover and retreat, and glacier-bed interactions, thus informing our view on the dynamics of older ice caps and predictions of future glaciations. This volume aims to provide a better understanding of glaciogenic processes, their stratigraphic record and reservoir characteristics of glaciogenic deposits. The book comprises 3 overview papers and 16 original case studies of Neoproterozoic to Pleistocene successions on 6 continents and will be of interest to sedimentologists, glaciologists, geophysicists, hydrologists and petroleum geologists alike.