2019 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition:

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Lessons From an Extensive Fluvial Channel and Channel Belt Parameter Database Based on Modern Data: Key Learnings and Practical Applications for the Subsurface


An extensive fluvial and tidal channel parameter database has been compiled, covering lower delta plain, upper delta plain, and alluvial plain environments. A companion database focusing on channel belt parameters has also been collected. The two databases are based on the same river systems and allow for direct comparison between child channel and parent channel belt morphometrics. The two datasets are a great resource for understanding the regional-scale to local-scale architecture of channel-bearing delta plain and alluvial strata. The databases have direct applications for reservoir modeling and for making predictions of internal architecture and thickness of mapped seismic horizon channels and channel belts.

The sizes of the databases are unparalleled. The channel database consists of close to 90,000 channel inflection points from numerous systems with global distribution. Each inflection point contains measurements for channel width, along channel length, direct channel length, distance to the next inflection point, and amplitude. Altogether, the database contains over 350,000 hand-measured parameters, over 12,000 separate channel depth measurements, and over 1,000,000 additional calculated values (average, minimum, maximum and sinuosity values of consecutive inflection points series within the same channel, elevation and distance to channel mouth for every data point, channel gradients).

The channel belt database is based on over 2,600 mapped channel belts. We use a built-for-purpose, semi-automated algorithm for extraction of channel belt parameters. Each channel belt polygon is separated into segments using both local width minima locations and center line inflection points. We then extract values for minimum, maximum and average width, area, direct length, along centerline length, and minimum radius for every segment, as well as minimum, maximum, and average values of these for the entire channel belt. The channel and channel belt databases are linked via a shared label structure. Both databases are also linked to additional data collected at the system level, which includes variables such as gradient, tectonic setting, drainage basin size, and process at the shoreline.

We present numerous examples of key relationships that can be derived from the data, which improve on previously available published sources. We also show how the database can be used to address practical subsurface applications.