Distributary channels in large deltas can form a channel pattern similar to braided fluvial system or anastomosed fluvial system that have multichannel systems. Although both systems are of generally comparable platforms, their geometry, sedimentology, and facies associations may exhibit unique characteristics. Many ancient multichannel systems have been interpreted as braided patterns, but some are certainly anastomosed patterns. A reevaluation of ancient multichannel architectures and sedimentology patterns is needed to improve discrimination of braided and anastomosed patterns of multichannel systems. This study examines the characteristics of two modern anastomosed pattern channel systems. Those modern systems are compared to ancient examples in the lower Yanchang Formation, southwest Ordos Basin. This comparison indicates that the multichannel systems of the delta, southwest Ordos Basin, exhibit greater similarity to modern anastomosed channel systems of shallow-water deltas. Systems of low-sinuosity distributary channels and interdistributary bays or swamp islands are developed mainly between the channels, and there are no mouth bar deposits. Both modern and ancient multichannel systems suggest that low gradient slope is a significant controlling factor in the formation of anastomosed pattern channels in river-dominated deltas. The identification of anastomosed patterns plays a significant role in reservoir characterization and hydrocarbon exploration and production in delta systems.

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