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Linkages Between Fluvial Scaling, Sediment Flux, and Sediment Deposition to Predict Reservoir Potential Within a Basin

Abstract

In hydrocarbon exploration and production, scaling relationships for fluvial deposits can be utilized to constrain reservoir architecture and sequence-stratigraphic interpretations, as well as predict contributing drainage area for paleogeographic reconstructions. Recent work has documented the scales of channel fills, channel bars, channel belts, and coastal-plain incised valleys from well-constrained Quaternary fluvial systems. All scaling relationships are represented by statistically significant power laws, with absolute dimensions that scale to drainage area. Fluvial architecture varies substantially upstream of the backwater zone compared to within the backwater. This is an important consideration when comparing fluvial systems. Scaling relationships are interpreted to reflect drainage-basin controls on water and sediment flux. This study integrates fluvial scaling relationships with size, relief, and climate characteristics of drainage basins in order to predict sediment mass flux and, ultimately, preserved depositional mass. Natural laboratories for testing include the Pliocene-Quaternary fluvial systems linked to the Mediterranean Sea, and the Holocene Mississippi, Red, Arkansas, Sabine, Trinity, Calcasieu, Lavaca, and Nueces fluvial systems linked to the Gulf of Mexico.