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Mid-Cretaceous Submarine Fans of the Southwest Bredasdorp Basin, South Africa

GILBERT, CHRISTOPHER, Soekor, Parow, South Africa

Mid-Cretaceous lowstand systems tracts, containing varying thicknesses of sandstone, have been identified in the E-G subbasin, south-central Bredasdorp basin, offshore South Africa. These lowstand tracts overlie a type 1 unconformity of Albian age, related to erosion of submarine channels into the lower continental slope.

Five boreholes drilled in this area to date were located either at the break of continental slope on this unconformity or slightly distal thereto. Four wells were designed primarily to test Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous rift-fill sequences beneath the drift onset (Gondwanaland breakup) unconformity. The fifth borehole tested mid-Cretaceous lowstand sandstones, following reappraisal of their reservoir quality and hydrocarbon shows, based on the earlier boreholes.

Gamma-ray log motifs together with seismic interpretations, petrographic evidence from cores, and sidewall cores and cuttings permit the interpretation of various subenvironments, from proximal feeder channel to distal supra-fan lobe settings of a deep-marine fan or fans. It is proposed that these fans represent the first phase of sedimentation on the Albian type 1 unconformity surface during conditions of falling sea level. Sediment, possibly eroded from highstand fan deltas or shelf sands on a partially exposed shelf to the south, was transported down erosional submarine channels. A proximal source and high gradients favored the high sand:mud ratio encountered in these wells. Local tectonic activity of short duration along faults parallel to the Agulhas fracture zone may have contri uted to gradient steepening.

Latest drilling results have upgraded similar plays distal to erosional channels in the immediate area.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91004 © 1991 AAPG Annual Convention Dallas, Texas, April 7-10, 1991 (2009)