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Controls on the deposition and preservation of architectural elements within a fluvial multi-storey sandbody

Mitten, AJ; Howell, LP; Clarke, S; Pringle, J


AJ Mitten

LP Howell


Architectural elements of fluvial multi-storey sandbodies provide principal controls on the distribution of meso-scale (100–101?m scale) heterogeneity and reservoir quality. Consequently, it is valuable to understand the deposition and preservation of sedimentary architecture in such systems in relation to autogenic (stream capture and avulsion) and allogenic controls (subsidence rates, climate and sediment supply). The aims of this study are to quantify the architectural and erosional nature of a fluvial multi-storey sandbody and to establish the effects of downstream distance and subsidence rates upon the preservation of architectural elements, using the Lower Castlegate Sandstone, Utah, USA, as an example. Quantitative architectural element analysis and palaeodischarge reconstructions were undertaken from eight locations using sedimentary logs and three terrestrial photogrammetric outcrop datasets along a 150?km down-dip profile. These observations were supplemented by burial history analysis of ten wells across the same profile. Results show the Lower Castlegate comprises channel-fill, downstream accretion, lateral accretion, upstream accretion and overbank elements. From these observations, calculations of sinuosity and flow depths along with architectural geometric analysis provide evidence of stream capture contemporaneous with foreland basin subsidence. The preservation of lateral accretion and overbank elements is limited within the distal portion of the multi-storey sandbody, as a result of local avulsion and limited subsidence rates. Results demonstrate that complex sedimentary architecture can form in fluvial multi-storey sandbodies as a product of variable discharge rates, the fluvial graded profile and spatially variable aggradation rates, driven principally by subsidence rates. The use of meso-scale architectural analysis, with analysis of in-channel sinuosity and hydrodynamics, along with erosional bounding surfaces, has helped to complemented basin-scale interpretations of fluvial architecture.

Acceptance Date Feb 29, 2020
Publication Date Mar 6, 2020
Journal Sedimentary Geology
Print ISSN 0037-0738
Publisher Elsevier
Keywords Architectural elements, Lower Castlegate Sandstone, Multi-storey sandbody, Sequence stratigraphy
Publisher URL