Near-seafloor core and seismic reflection-data from the western Niger Delta continental slope document the facies, architecture, and evolution of submarine channel and intraslope submarine fan deposits. The submarine channel enters an 8-km-long by 8-km-wide intraslope basin, where more than 100 m of deposits form an intraslope submarine fan. Lobe deposits in the intraslope submarine fan show no significant downslope trend in sand presence or grain size, indicating that flows were bypassing sediment through the basin. This unique data set indicates that intraslope lobe deposits may have more sand-rich facies near lobe edges than predicted by traditional lobe facies models, and that thickness patterns in intraslope submarine fans do not necessarily correlate with sand presence and/or quality.
Core and radiocarbon age data indicate that sand beds southward during the late Pleistocene, resulting in the compensation of at least two lobe elements. The youngest lobe element is well characterized by core data and is sand rich, ∼2 km wide × 6 km long, and >1 m thick and was deposited rapidly over ∼4000 yr, from 18 to 14 ka. Sand beds forming an earlier lobe element were deposited on the northern part of the fan from ca. 25 to 18 ka. Seafloor geomorphology and amplitudes from seismic reflection data confirm the location and age of these two compensating lobe elements. A third compensation event would have shifted sand deposition back to the northern part of the fan, but sediment supply was interrupted by rapid sea-level rise during Meltwater Pulse 1-A at ca. 14 ka, resulting in abandonment of the depositional system.