Neil H. Kenyon1,
Stephen D. Johnson2,
(1) Southampton Geological Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
(3) BP Amoco Exploration
(4) ELF Exploration Production
Abstract: Acoustic imagery of modern submarine fans and their use in hydrocarbon exploration
Seismic attribute mapping of deep water exploration plays revealed the importance of sinuous submarine channels and depositional lobes in the distribution of potential reservoir facies in deep-water settings. Detailed plan-view understanding of such channels is required and can be provided by side-scan sonar studies of modern deep-water channels. A synthesis study of modern submarine fans using acoustic, seismic and core data shows the variability in facies distribution and architecture of these environments, but some common features are identified.
Large submarine fans (e.g. Mississippi, Amazon, Indus) show intricately meandering channels that are commonly organized into stacked channel-levee complexes. These are frequently separated by extensive mass-flow deposits. Small submarine fans (e.g. West Corsica, Hueneme) generally have a more simple organizational pattern with a single, straight to slightly sinuous channel and possibly several tributary canyons on the slope. These two types, however, are end-members of a more continuous spectrum and many intermediate settings exist. Nevertheless, a common feature to all fans, large and small, is the fact that they contain important amounts of sand and gravel. These are restricted mainly to channel-fill deposits and depositional lobes, with the latter showing frequently a “braid-like” organization.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana