Multiple Time-Scales in the Development of Source-to-Sink Systems
The study of source-to-sink systems includes all parts of the geomorphic sediment transport system that contributes to basinward distribution of sediment, from river catchments, via shelves and slopes, to the deep-marine basin floor. Time is an important parameter in the development of source-to-sink systems, particularly how short-time process and erosional/depositional events link with what is actually preserved in the stratigraphic record.
Here we compare the detailed development of the Late Pleistocene Golo system off Corsica (France) with the Early Paleocene Ormen Lange system in the Norwegian Sea. At a given stage in the development of a source-to-sink system, the morphological and sedimentological parameters describing individual parts of the systems are predictable on a first-order scale, indicating that characteristic trends can be estimated in subsurface petroleum systems where data is lacking. However, what is preserved in the geological record depends on the time-scale under investigation. Depositional elements in the alluvial system and on the shelf that are considered to be part of the ‘short-term’ record (103-104 years), and which are primarily controlled by climate and eustasy, may not be included in the long-term (>105 years) record which predominantly is controlled by subsidence.
This study shows that it is important to consider multiple time-scales when attempting to compare sub-modern systems and their processes to the long-term development of systems and the formation of the stratigraphic record.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009