Abstract

Two-dimensional modeling of deltaic coastlines, under conditions of a steadily rising relative sea level and constant sediment input, suggests that the delta-front region will undergo an inevitable retreat after a relatively brief period of progradation. The retreat results from the progressive increase in the effective area of the delta's subaqueous slope, whereby the constant input of sediment does not allow a steady accretion of the slope. It may thus not be necessary to invoke any change in tectonic and/or paleoclimatic factors to explain the retreat phases of deltas recognized in the stratigraphic record. The Middle Jurassic Brent delta in the northern North Sea region is a possible example of the pattern of a delta front's quick advance followed by slow retreat predicted by the conceptual model.

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