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Title: 4D interpretation of texture and architecture of a coarse grained slope channel system using automated statistics from high resolution outcrop photography
Author: Tuitt, Natasha R. T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 1405
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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The building blocks of a sedimentary system are essential inputs into studies of reservoir character and comparisons with other sedimentary systems. Yet, our current knowledge of the building blocks of deep water slope channel deposits is still largely speculative. A quantitative approach has been utilised in order to analyse a host of lithological data and objectively identify these sedimentary components. The laterally-extensive and gently-dipping continental slope deposits of the San Fernando Channel System, Baja California, provide the required control on sub-seismic-scale temporal and lateral variations of lithofacies and 3D architecture. High resolution photo-panoramas (with better than 2mm accuracy) of the prominent conglomeratic component of the succession were collected from various key parts of the outcrop. Image analysis of segments extracted from the photo-panoramas generates key parameters for comparison of texture and fabric of conglomerates, such as clast to matrix ratio, major axis length and relative orientation. Statistical analysis of these data enabled the erection of an objective lithofacies scheme for the gravel fraction, the grouping of lithofacies into objectively-defined assemblages, and the establishment of models for the lateral and stratigraphic distributions of these assemblages. 12 lithofacies were objectively identified through hierarchical cluster analysis of 4 quantitative lithological parameters. Statistical analyses indicate significant differences in diversity in the lithofacies assemblages between the early and later parts (termed Stage 1 and Stage 2) of a channel complex set (sensu Sprague, et al., 2002), and to a lesser extent between marginal and axial parts of the system. These can be related to spatial differences and temporal changes in the nature of the turbidity currents flowing through the channel system. Gravelly units become more organised and less diverse with time in one CCS, and each successive CCS more organised at earlier stratigraphic levels than the next, except for the last CCS which is interpreted as influenced by a tectonic paroxysm. These seemingly autocyclic changes in organisation are interpreted as process-responses to changes in equilibrium profile as the nature of confinement changes with the infilling of an initial erosional confinement, to confinement by a master levee and gradual infilling through the evolution of each CCS.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: BG Group ; Stratigraphic Development of Slope Systems Consortium Project
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Intrusions (Geology) ; Outcrops (Geology) ; Petroleum ; Soil texture