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Erik Kling, Colorado School of Mines, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Golden, CO, [email protected]


This study relates changes in sorting, grain size, and matrix composition to velocity structure and the role of carbonate matrix on turbulence suppression. Changes in matrix concentration within experimental flows are compared with mapped outcrop distribution of these textural attributes.

This investigation is part of an integrated outcrop and subsurface study encompassing the 255 km2 Brushy Canyon deep-water outcrop. The 50 km2 study area occupies a basinal position 40 km from the shelf feeder. Feldspar, silt and carbonate content double within strata containing few channels, dominated by sheet and lobeform sedimentary bodies.

Framework mineralogy, matrix content, grain size, and sorting quantified from 80 thin sections correlates silty sand to silt content >9% and coarse-skewed grain size distribution. Carbonate matrix >15% corresponds to this increased silt content. Flume experiments were designed to establish whether enhanced silt content is related to suppression of turbulence by micrite. Sonic velocity probes measured turbulence in experimental flows with variable carbonate proportions. Velocity structure of flows with transitional turbulent properties over the critical range of carbonate proportions was measured. Sampling the resultant deposits documents textural attributes to be compared with petrographic and outcrop datasets.

Comparison of experimental, petrographic and outcrop data links hydrodynamic processes to their deposits. Petrography provides quantitative textural data linked to outcrop distributions providing local spatial context. Integration with regional data provides basinal context. This approach links fundamental physical processes to their temporal and spatial distribution with the goal to produce a global predictive model that describes and reproduces these subaqueous flow behaviors.