Stratigraphic evolution and characteristics of lobes : a high-resolution study of Fan 3, Tanqua Karoo, South Africa
Fan 3 is one of four basin-floor fans that form part of the Tanqua Karoo Fan Complex in South Africa. It can be subdivided into several sandstone lobes, based on the presence of thin-bedded siltstone intervals above and below major sandstone packages. Six lobes are identified in the mid fan section, as well as two older groups of thin, low-volume turbidite deposits at the base. Some of the lobes are further divided into an upper and lower lobe-element based on depositional behaviour. The volumetrically and spatially larger lobes have a finger-like appearance in plan view, which is attributed to multiple lobe-scale axial zones. This is especially visible towards the eastern margins of Lobes 2, 4 and 5. The stratigraphy and facies distribution are presented on several 2D panels. Computer generated isopach maps are presented for each lobe, lobe-element and interlobe unit. Autogenic control on the depositional pattern of the Fan 3 lobe complex was inferred from the palaeoflow patterns of the composing lobes and lobe-elements. The majority of the lobes show a north-eastern palaeoflow direction in the south, with a gradual westward shift in the north. Inferred controls are basin-floor topography, the presence of pre-existing lobes, and characteristics of the depositional flow, such strength, density, sediment load, palaeoflow direction.