Publication Date

Fall 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. M. Royhan Gani (Director), Dr. Frederick Siewers, and Dr. Jason Polk

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science

Abstract

This study investigates Mio-Pliocene mass-transport deposits (MTDs) in an understudied, hydrocarbon-rich region of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. The research utilizes a high-quality 3D seismic dataset with an area of 635 km2, along with wireline logs and biostratigraphic data. With the help of quantitative seismic geomorphology techniques, detailed mapping of MTDs suggests a complex erosional and depositional history. Deposition of a MTD unit resulted in a 180 m topographic high that substantially influenced the distribution and morphology of subsequent MTDs, specifically the bifurcation of later mass-transport flows. This bifurcation contributed to the generation of a non-shielded erosional remnant with an area of 65 km2. Depositional elements of the remnant strata are interpreted to be sediment waves. Instantaneous frequency attribute maps of the erosional remnant suggest a different lithology than the surrounding muddy MTDs; and, thus, the remnant unit is interpreted to be sandy. For the first time in literature, this research documented intra-MTD channel and lobe features. The development of a sinuous channel system encased within MTD gives new insights into mass-transport processes. This provides evidence for considering MTD as amalgamation deposits of multiple and different-type of flow events (e.g., turbidity currents and debris flows), rather than a singular event-deposit.

The channel, lobe, and erosional remnant features examined in this research demonstrate reservoir-prone facies encased within MTD units, forming stratigraphic traps directly associated with mass-transport phenomena. This research contributes to the understanding of seal vs. reservoir rock development and distribution in the study area, as well as presents new developments into mass-transport deposit flow processes and their resulting morphologies.

Disciplines

Earth Sciences | Geology | Sedimentology | Stratigraphy

Available for download on Wednesday, November 18, 2020

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