Submarine Channel Levees — Overview, Nomenclature and Prediction
For much of their life-cycle submarine channels may be dominated by erosion and bypass, leaving an incomplete stratigraphic record of their evolution. In contrast, the levees associated with these channels may contain a sedimentary record of most of the through-going channelized flows and therefore offer the best chance of understanding the full evolution of the system and the potential downdip fan deposits. In their own right, levees also have considerable economic significance as primary and secondary targets for hydrocarbon production. This presentation seeks to investigate the role that levees and other overbank deposits, including splays, sediment waves, internal levees and terraces, can play in deciphering the stratigraphic evolution of deep-marine sedimentary systems. Using observations from outcrop, seafloor, subsurface and experimental channel levee systems we assess: 1) the sedimentary processes of overspilling flows and their deposits; 2) the stratigraphic relationship between levees and their parent channels; 3) the stratigraphic architecture of levee and overbank deposits; 4) the economic significance of levee and channel-marginal deposits. The presentation draws together these observations to propose a nomenclature for channel levee sub-environments and criteria for the interpretation of thin-bedded turbidites associated with submarine channels. Furthermore, the observations will be drawn together to provide a predictive model of levees their sand distribution.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90142 © 2012 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, April 22-25, 2012, Long Beach, California