Sedimentology and reservoir properties of tabular and erosive offshore transition deposits in wave-dominated, shallow-marine strata: Book cliffs, USA

Christian Haug Eide*, John A. Howell, Simon J. Buckley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Facies models for wave-dominated shorelines include an ‘offshore transition zone’ between shelfal mudstones and nearshore shoreface sandstones. Offshore transition-zone deposits are commonly tabular sandstone beds interbedded with continuous mudstone beds. However, observations from the Blackhawk Formation show that the offshore transition zone locally consists of erosive-based sandstone beds with ‘pinch-and-swell’ geometries containing steep-walled gutter casts, in areas larger than 6 × 2 km along strike and dip. This increases the amount of sand-on-sand contacts, and leads to improved vertical permeability. Predicting the distribution of erosive offshore transition within the subsurface is therefore desirable. In this study, offshore transition-zone deposits have been studied using virtual outcrops. Tabular offshore transition- zone deposits have continuous sandstone and mudstone beds much longer than 500 m, and erosive offshore transitionzone deposits have discontinuous shales, on average, 60 m long. Reservoir modelling shows a 10- to two-fold increase in vertical permeability in erosive compared to tabular offshore transition deposits, the magnitude decreasing with increasing fraction of shale. Erosive offshore transition deposits occur near distributary channels, subaqueous channels and abrupt bathymetric breaks. A regional study shows that erosive offshore transition-zone deposits are mainly developed where parasequences prograde into deeper water offshore the platform break of the preceding parasequence, are commonly associated with basinal turbidites and may be related to erosion by bypassing turbidity currents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-73
Number of pages19
JournalPetroleum Geoscience
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements and Funding
Funding for this study was provided from the Research Council of Norway (Petromaks project 193059) and the FORCE Safari project. The helicopter-LiDAR data was collected by J. Valet and S. Pitiot of Helimap System SA. Riegl LMS GmbH is acknowledged for software support for the outcrop models, and ROXAR is acknowledged for use of their RMS reservoir modelling package. A. Rittersbacher is acknowledged for processing the heli-LiDAR model.
The first author would like to thank O. S. Mulelid-Tynes and G. Henstra for assistance in the field and for valuable discussions. G. Hampson is thanked for insightful comments that significantly improved this manuscript


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