Abstract

With the exploration of tight oil and gas, shallow-water deltaic reservoirs have been attracting more and more attention. The sedimentary architecture of a shallow-water delta shows distinctive differences with that of a deep-slope delta. These differences may be associated with the mechanism and characteristics of the deposition in the area where the sediments unloaded. Based on modern sedimentary research of the Poyang Lake in China, this paper focuses on the processes of river flow entering a lake with a low dip angle. We conducted six sets of numerical simulations with different initial sedimentary flow velocities using Fluent software for analyzing the hydrodynamics and the sediment transportation in the shallow-water delta. We combined the simulation results with an analysis of the geomorphology of the Gangjiang Delta to reveal the deposition along the shoreline of the lacustrine shallow-water delta. The numerical simulation shows that the shallow-water delta is dominated by bed friction with an extensive hydrodynamical boundary layer. The bed shear stress, which varies with the changes in river flux, dominated the sediment transport and deposition at the shallow-water delta front, where the effluent flow mixes with lake water. The distributary channels show characteristics of repeatedly occurred erosion, scouring, filling, and reoccupation. We argue that the depositional characteristics are associated with the changes in bed shear stress controlled by variation of flow velocity. Mouth bars are less likely to grow to a reasonable scale because of the seasonal scouring of extreme floods. Moreover, the lake flow potentially reworks the mouth bars. Consequently, mouth bar deposits were difficult to preserve as hydrocarbon reservoirs in ancient shallow-water delta.

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