The modern Niger Delta has long been classified as a mixed tide-, wave-, and river-influenced delta. Still, no detailed studies have quantified the relative proportions of formative processes and facies. This work presents the first quantitative estimate of the relative influence of formative processes in Miocene deposits based on core data from the Greater Ughelli, Central Swamp, and Coastal Swamp depositional belts of the Niger Delta basin. Facies analysis of 288.2 m of core from four wells shows approximately 53% tidal facies, 33% fluvial facies, and 14% wave-formed facies, indicating deposition in a prograding tide-dominated, wave-, and river-influenced delta.

Cores from the Greater Ughelli and Central Swamp depobelts exhibit coarsening-upwards, prograding deltaic facies successions overlain by fluvial mudstone. Tidal deposits in the Coastal Swamp depobelt show coarsening-upwards prograding deltaic facies successions with well-developed tidal bundles indicating seasonal deposition. The basal part of these facies successions also reveals repeated floods characterized by slump and load structures and dewatering features.

Delta-plain and delta-front–prodeltaic facies associations are identified based on physical sedimentary and biological structures. The delta-plain facies association consists of weakly bioturbated mudstone, fissile mudstone, and coarse-pebbly stratified sandstone facies with sparse trace fossils. The delta-front–prodeltaic facies association contains muddy and sandy heteroliths, stratified, medium and coarse-grained, cross-bedded sandstone, and convoluted mudstone facies. The facies vary but characteristically contain trace-fossil assemblages of the recently proposed Rosselia and Phycosiphon Ichnofacies, indicating delta-front and prodeltaic settings, respectively. Variability in the facies is determined by the relative influence of hydrodynamic processes (tide, wave, and river), variations in physicochemical stress, and the episodic character of deposition. In addition, based on the relative influence of each hydrodynamic processes, the facies differ through the successions, sometimes subtly.

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