Submarine channel evolution, terrace development, and preservation of intra-channel thin-bedded turbidites: Mahin and Avon channels, offshore Nigeria

Larissa Hansen*, Michal Janocko, Ian Kane, Ben Kneller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Terraces on the modern seafloor are defined as topographically flat areas above the active submarine channel thalweg but within the confines of the channel-belt. They have been described from many modern submarine channels, but the controls on terrace distribution, evolution and stacking patterns are not well understood. In this study, we describe the architecture of the Mahin and Avon channel-belts and their associated terraces, located offshore Nigeria towards the northwest of the Niger Delta. The studied channel sections are < 10 km apart up-dip and converge downslope. They are on slopes with similar gradients, yet they have significantly different morphologies indicating that the interplay between sedimentary processes and channel evolution must be different. 

The surfaces defining the bases of the terrace bodies have been mapped along both channels using high-resolution 3D seismic data. Spectral decomposition of the data reveals subtle variations in seismic character that highlight sedimentological detail that can otherwise not be recognized, allowing us to suggest the processes responsible for terrace formation and terrace body composition. 

The contrasting evolution of the two channels is reflected in the morphology and architecture of their terraces. While the Mahin terrace bodies show a predictable pattern, typically consisting of stacked channel-fill and overbank deposits in a circular planform shape (shape controlled by cut-off channel bends), the deposits of the Avon terrace bodies up-dip of the confluence with the Mahin are dominated by overbank deposits, with the planform terrace shape heavily controlled by the topography of the underlying channel-belt deposits.

This study shows how spatially and temporally associated channels can have markedly different architectures. The evolution of the channel and the abundance and stacking patterns of compositional elements within terrace bodies are shown to be linked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-167
Number of pages22
JournalMarine Geology
Volume383
Early online date22 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Fingerprint

submarine channel
terrace
Deposits
Planforms
Topography
stacking
Decomposition
dip
Chemical analysis
thalweg
confluence
seismic data
fill
seafloor

Keywords

  • 3D seismic
  • Channel sinuosity
  • Channel-levee
  • Depositional terraces
  • Internal levee
  • Nigeria
  • Thin-bedded turbidites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Cite this

Submarine channel evolution, terrace development, and preservation of intra-channel thin-bedded turbidites : Mahin and Avon channels, offshore Nigeria. / Hansen, Larissa; Janocko, Michal; Kane, Ian; Kneller, Ben.

In: Marine Geology, Vol. 383, 01.01.2017, p. 146-167.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Terraces on the modern seafloor are defined as topographically flat areas above the active submarine channel thalweg but within the confines of the channel-belt. They have been described from many modern submarine channels, but the controls on terrace distribution, evolution and stacking patterns are not well understood. In this study, we describe the architecture of the Mahin and Avon channel-belts and their associated terraces, located offshore Nigeria towards the northwest of the Niger Delta. The studied channel sections are < 10 km apart up-dip and converge downslope. They are on slopes with similar gradients, yet they have significantly different morphologies indicating that the interplay between sedimentary processes and channel evolution must be different. The surfaces defining the bases of the terrace bodies have been mapped along both channels using high-resolution 3D seismic data. Spectral decomposition of the data reveals subtle variations in seismic character that highlight sedimentological detail that can otherwise not be recognized, allowing us to suggest the processes responsible for terrace formation and terrace body composition. The contrasting evolution of the two channels is reflected in the morphology and architecture of their terraces. While the Mahin terrace bodies show a predictable pattern, typically consisting of stacked channel-fill and overbank deposits in a circular planform shape (shape controlled by cut-off channel bends), the deposits of the Avon terrace bodies up-dip of the confluence with the Mahin are dominated by overbank deposits, with the planform terrace shape heavily controlled by the topography of the underlying channel-belt deposits.This study shows how spatially and temporally associated channels can have markedly different architectures. The evolution of the channel and the abundance and stacking patterns of compositional elements within terrace bodies are shown to be linked.",
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N1 - Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank PGS and Statoil ASA for permission to publish this dataset and PGS also for collection and processing of the seismic data. Also thank you to Statoil ASA for making the internship during which the bulk of this work was undertaken possible. We acknowledge the support of the PRACSS Joint Industry Project at University of Aberdeen, funded by BG Group, BP, DONG, Petrochina, RWE Dea, Statoil and Tullow Oil, which has allowed us to undertake research in various areas where ideas for this paper were formulated. We thank Dave Hodgson and Marzia Rovere for the insightful reviews that greatly improved this paper.

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