Deepwater Architecture Knowledge Base: Towards Objective Comparison of Deep-Marine Sedimentary Systems
Jaco H. Baas and William D. McCaffrey
University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
A new method for the comparison of deep-marine clastic depositional systems is proposed. The method comprises a knowledge base of quantitative, literature-derived information from modern and ancient, surface and subsurface deep-water systems, implemented as a relational database management system (Deep-Water Architecture Knowledge Base or DWAKB). DWAKB contains the following information: (1) internal and external controls on system architecture, such as tectonic setting, dominant grain size, degree of basin confinement, and number and distribution of sediment input points; (2) dimensions of architectural elements, e.g., channels, levees, lobes, and background; (3) spatial organization of architectural elements; and (4) bed thickness distribution and proportion of different lithologies within architectural elements. DWAKB is considered more valuable for comparative studies of deep-marine clastic systems than existing classification schemes and system analogue concepts. In contrast to classification schemes, DWAKB is not limited in the number of controlling parameters, and it does not have a limited time span, because of the flexibility to update existing records and add new data sets. Moreover, system analogues can be selected more objectively using statistical methods, and the knowledge base allows unsurpassed integration of large-scale architectural data with bed- and facies-scale data. The expected value of the DWAKB will be illustrated with several examples of quantitative data analysis, including the construction of synthetic models for sand-rich and mixed mud-sand systems based on probabilities of spatial transitions between architectural elements.