A Delta Submarine Ramp Alternative to the Canyon-Fed Depositional Model of the Stevens Submarine Fan System, Southeastern San Joaquin Basin, Kern County, California
Cristy P. Harrison
Deep-marine sands of the Upper Miocene Stevens Sandstone, one of the most important hydrocarbon-producing units in the United States, were deposited by sediment-gravity flows in the Bakersfield Arch area of the southern San Joaquin basin. The Stevens Sandstone has historically been considered to be a thick turbidite succession shed off the southern Sierra Nevada as four fans in a long-lived submarine fan system fed by several large submarine canyons. Access to previously unavailable proprietary 2-D and 3-D seismic data sets, carefully calibrated by well-log and core data, permits a more complete understanding of the depositional architecture of this highly petroliferous, deep-marine depositional system. This study concludes that these units were deposited in a delta-fed, ine-sourced deep-sea system, whose distribution was structurally-controlled. Seismic lines examined in this study show evidence for a large fault-controlled slump feature in the area that has been referred to as "Rosedale Canyon," and no evidence supports the existence of submarine canyons feeding the system. The highly progradational Stevens interval consists of thick siliciclastic units separated by thin, intervening biosiliceous shales. Seismically, the upper bounding surfaces of these biosiliceous shales represent major downlap surfaces. As sands were deposited by high-density turbidity currents, the area of the present Bakersfield Arch developed into a deep-sea braid plain. Smaller-scale linear features detected on horizon slices through the 3-D seismic data cube have been interpreted in this study as braided channelform features deposited on the deep-sea braid plain. Hydrocarbon production along these linear trends may be associated with porosity and permeability variations resulting from channelized versus non-channelized sedimentation.
AAPG Search and Discover Article #91019©1996 AAPG Convention and Exhibition 19-22 May 1996, San Diego, California