Interpreting syndepositional sediment remobilization and deformation beneath submarine gravity flows: a kinematic boundary layer approach

Robert W H Butler, Joris T Eggenhuisen, Peter Haughton , William D McCaffrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
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Turbidite sandstones and related deposits commonly contain deformation structures and remobilized sediment that might have resulted from post-depositional modification such as downslope creep (e.g. slumping) or density-driven loading by overlying deposits. However, we consider that deformation can occur during the passage of turbidity currents that
exerted shear stress on their substrates (whether entirely pre-existing strata, sediment deposited by earlier parts of the flow itself or some combination of these). Criteria are outlined here, to avoid confusion with products of other mechanisms (e.g. slumping or later tectonics), which establish the synchronicity between the passage of overriding flows and deformation of their substrates. This underpins a new analytical framework for tracking the relationship between deformation, deposition and the transit of the causal turbidity current, through the concept of kinematic boundary layers. Case study examples are drawn from outcrop (Miocene of New Zealand, and Apennines of Italy) and subsurface examples (Britannia Sandstone, Cretaceous, UK Continental Shelf). Example structures include asymmetric flame structures, convolute lamination, some
debritic units and injection complexes, together with slurry and mixed slurry facies. These structures may provide insight into the rheology and dynamics of submarine flows and their substrates, and have implications for the development of subsurface turbidite reservoirs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-58
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Issue number1
Early online date22 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

This research has arisen from extensive fieldwork initially within syntectonic
turbidite basins of the French Alps, Italy and New Zealand. A. del Pino Sanchez,
E. Tavarnelli, S. Mazzoli, L. Strachan and B. Spörli are thanked for discussions
in the field and core-store. Fieldwork was funded by the Turbidites Research
Group industry consortium (Anadarko, BG Group, BP, ConocoPhillips, Devon
Energy, Marathon, Maersk Oil, Nexen, Petronas, Statoil and Woodside).
Scientific editing by Stuart Jones


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