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Belopolsky, Andrei V.1, Mick Casey1, Kristian E Meisling1, Samuel R. Johnson1, Rosemarie T. Ramkhelawan1, Virginia Riggert1, L. Micaela Smith1, Lonnie J. Blake1, Robert A. Hutton1, Peter J. Evans1
(1) BP, Houston, TX

ABSTRACT: Factors Influencing Slope Channel Turbidite Development: Insights from Recent Channel Systems and Application to Reservoir Prediction

Several Pleistocene channel systems of the Gulf of Mexico continental slope in the Viosca Knoll/Mississippi Canyon protraction areas are exceptionally well imaged in the shallow section of industry seismic data sets. Continuous 3-D data coverage provides documentation of their evolution from shelf break where they are fed by the shelf-margin deltas, to basin plain. The continental slope in the area is complicated by surface expressions of salt bodies, and by faulting related to salt movement. These features, along with variations in the slope gradient, control channel geometry and architecture.
Two of the channels, located near one another, were studied by industry in the past and are known as Fuji and Einstein channels. Fuji channel is characterized by erosive base and lack of constructional levees in the uppermost slope position where it is bounded by a surface expression of the salt on the west side. Down the slope, the channel becomes confined by a complex graben caused by the extensional faults related to the inflation of the deep underlying salt body. After exiting from the graben, Fuji channel started developing constructional levees. In contrast, Einstein, a slightly younger channel, is positioned on the relatively unstructured slope. It has spectacular constructional levees that can be up to 500 feet high.
These well-imaged recent channels provide valuable analog for the deeper upper Miocene section. In the Marlin field, the late Miocene reservoir section is interpreted to represent channel sands confined by the graben system related to salt inflation.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.