Modern observations have determined the presence of hyperpycnal flows; however, their presence in ancient rocks is scarcely reported in the literature, particularly with respect to continental strata. The present study is the first to use core and thin-section analyses and examination of physical reservoir properties to identify hyperpycnal flow sediment from the lower section of the Oligocene Huagang Formation in the central Xihu Sag, East China Sea Shelf Basin. The multiple fine sandy layers are characterized by lower reverse-graded and upper normal-graded bedding with horizontal bedding, climbing-ripple lamination, wavy bedding, and small foreset laminae. Microerosion surfaces are occasionally present between the reverse-graded and normal-graded bedding, and plant fragments are sometimes visible in the deposits. The same grain size sequence changes are observed in the thin sections. This lithologic combination is considered to be related to hyperpycnal flow sedimentation caused by flood events. The lower reverse-graded and upper normal-graded bedding sequences indicate that the flood energy first increased then decreased and the microerosion surfaces were formed through erosion of lower sediments by the flood. Hyperpycnal flows can directly transport deposits from an estuary to a deep-water basin, which distinguishes them from typical turbidity currents. This study also establishes a sedimentary model of the hyperpycnal flow in lacustrine basin, which can be used as a reference for future hyperpycnal deposit studies.

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