Controls on the apex location of large deltas

Adrian J. Hartley, Gary S. Weissmann, Louis Scuderi

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26 Citations (Scopus)
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The majority of sediment transport to the world's oceans is routed via large deltas. We examine controls on delta apex location using a database of 84 of the world's largest deltas. Of the dataset, 94% of apices are controlled by either bedrock valleys (80%) or Pleistocene alluvial valleys (14%), suggesting that the principal control on modern apex development is valley exit and/or bedslope-mediated avulsion and not hydrodynamic backwater length. Valley exit control on large delta apex location may have been as important in the rock record as it is today, and should be considered as a key control on delta development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-13
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Early online date7 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements and Funding

We would like to acknowledge the sponsors of the Fluvial Systems Research Group consortium BP, BG, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Total. We would like to thank A. Felicia for image generation and database management.


  • delta
  • apex
  • backwater length
  • valley
  • avulsion
  • river


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