Modelling the architecture of distal sand-rich lobe deposits : an example from Fan 2, Skoorsteenberg Formation, Tanqua Karoo, South Africa

Steyn, Rochelle (2009-03)


Thesis (MSc (Earth Sciences))—University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


Fan 2, one of five submarine fan systems of the Tanqua fan complex in the south-western Karoo Basin, South Africa, is subdivided into Lower, Middle and Upper units. Here, detailed analysis of the internal architecture and distribution of lithofacies associations of Middle Fan 2 facilitated the 3-D visualisation of the sedimentological and stratigraphical changes towards the pinch-out. Middle Fan 2 is interpreted to be a lower-fan, sand-rich terminal lobe, comprising three sandstone-lobe elements, separated by two siltstone interlobe elements. It is fed by a distributary channel that is hypothetically positioned to the west-southwest of the study area. The sandstone-lobe elements pinch out downdip to the north-east and updip to the southsouthwest in the study area. The consecutive pinch out of lobe elements to the north-east indicates a progradational stacking pattern similar to the entire lobe complex. Palaeocurrent analysis and the interpretation of isopach maps indicate that the transport direction of Middle Fan 2 was in a north-easterly direction. The fringes of the lobe and the distribution of internal elements (channels, amalgamated sheets and sheets) show a finger-like geometry in plan-view, in contrast to simple radial-lobe bodies that are commonly envisaged.

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