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A Quantitative Examination of Channel Sedimentary Structures and their Changes in Avulsion-Dominated Sequences

Heather L.Jones, University of Wyoming, Department of Geology & Geophysics, Laramie, Wyoming .U.S.A., [email protected]


Several theoretical alluvial architecture models (2-D & 3-D) have been published in the literature, but few field studies have directly tested or been used as an input for such models. The aim of this project is to collect a large dataset of detailed internal channel measurements in conjunction with the analysis of adjacent paleosols from several avulsion-dominated alluvial basins to better understand, compare, and quantify avulsion processes and to then create a database of statistically significant field data that will be both tested against and incorporated into advancing theoretical alluvial architecture models. Two Paleocene-Eocene avulsion-dominated alluvial basins have been chosen for this research. The Willwood Fm in Bighorn basin, WY and the Wasatch Fm in Piceance basin, CO.

The study will provide useful information pertaining to channel avulsion and critical thresholds to researchers that are concerned with modern fluvial dynamics and the environmental impacts of flooding and/or the avulsion frequency experienced by modern meandering streams. Previous alluvial architecture models have not been based on field data, but rather theoretical input. The addition of detailed field data from different basins into a 3-D model will greatly benefit exploration within the petroleum industry by improving both reservoir net-to-gross and reservoir quality predictions within ancient fluvial-dominated basins.