Anatomy of a mixed-influence shelf edge delta, Karoo Basin, South Africa
Luz E. Gomis-Cartesio, Miquel Poyatos-Moré, Stephen S. Flint, David M. Hodgson, Rufus L. Brunt, Henry Dev. Wickens, 2017. "Anatomy of a mixed-influence shelf edge delta, Karoo Basin, South Africa", Sedimentology of Paralic Reservoirs: Recent Advances, G. J. Hampson, A. D. Reynolds, B. Kostic, M. R. Wells
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The position and process regime of paralic systems relative to the shelf edge rollover is a major control on sediment transfer into deep water. The depositional strike and dip variability of an exhumed Permian shelf edge succession has been studied in the Paardeberg Ridge, Karoo Basin. Siltstone-rich slope turbidites are overlain by 25–75 m-thick prodelta parasequences. These are truncated by a 30 m-thick sandstone-prone unit of tabular or convex-topped sandstones, interpreted as wave-modified mouth bars, cut by multiple irregular concave-upwards erosive surfaces overlain by sandstones, interpreted as distributary channels. The stratigraphic context, lithofacies and architecture are consistent with a mixed-influence shelf edge delta; the erosional base to the unit marks a basinwards shift in facies, consistent with a sequence boundary. Channels become thicker, wider, more erosive and incise into deeper-water facies downdip and correlate with sandstone-rich upper slope turbidites, all of which support the bypass of sand across the rollover. The overall progradational stacking pattern results in a stratigraphic decrease in channel dimensions. The results of this study suggest a predictable relationship between channel geometry, facies and position on the shelf-to-slope profile under a mixed wave and fluvial process regime.
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Paralic reservoirs reflect a range of depositional environments including deltas, shoreline-shelf systems and estuaries. They provide the backbone of production in many mature basins, and contribute significantly to global conventional hydrocarbon production. However, the range of environments, together with relative sea-level and sediment supply changes, result in significant variability in their stratigraphic architecture and sedimentological heterogeneity, which translates into complex patterns of reservoir distribution and production that are challenging to predict, optimize and manage.
This volume presents new research and developments in established approaches to the exploration and production of paralic reservoirs. The 13 papers in the volume are grouped into three thematic sections, which address: the sedimentological characterization of paralic reservoirs using subsurface data; lithological heterogeneity in paralic depositional systems arising from the influence of tidal currents; and paralic reservoir analogue studies of modern sediments and ancient outcrops. The volume demonstrates that heterogeneity in paralic reservoirs is increasingly well understood at all scales, but highlights gaps in our knowledge and areas of current research.