AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition

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Depth-Averaged Modeling of Supercritical Submarine Fans


General characteristics and criteria for identifying steep sandy supercritical submarine fans based on tank experiments, outcrop, and seismic observations have been presented in other talks by our group. These include steep backsets and mounding associated with hydraulic jumps as well as cyclic step bedforms. Here, we test the ability of a vertically averaged model of hydrodynamics coupled with sediment transport and empirical relations for deposition currents to reproduce these features. Many of the architectural features associated with depth averaged flow are reproduced and can be successfully compared both qualitatively and quantitatively to the scaling of real fan features. However, the main goal is not only to evaluate the relevance and predictive power of the depth-averaged model but also to gauge the need for the inclusion of other processes needed to replicate field observations such as facies successions and architecture as observed in outcrops and seismic.