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Well Log Response Character

(source: Emery, 1996) There are three general trends or curve shapes that can be recognized when looking at well log curves. For instance the Gamma log tracks the upward change in clay-mineral content. NB: When possible, one should use core data to confirm or augment well log analysis.

1. Cleaning-up trend (funnel shape); a gradual upward decrease in gamma response. In shallow marine settings, this trend reflects a change from shale-rich into sand-rich lithology and upward increase in depositional energy with shallowing-upward and coarsening. In deep marine settings, this trend reflects an increase in the sand contents of turbidite bodies. This trend also may indicate gradual change from clastic to carbonate deposition. 2. Dirtying-up trend (bell shape); a gradual upward increase in gamma response: This trend may reflect upward fining (eg: a lithology change from sand to shale) or upward fining of sand beds in a thinly interbedded sand-shale unit. This trend usually implies a decrease in depositional energy. In a non-marine setting, fining upward is predominant within meandering or tidal channel deposits with an upward decrease in fluid velocity within a channel (coarser sediments at base of channel). In a shallow-marine setting, this trend usually reflects an upward deepening and a decrease in depositional energy (shoreline retreat). In deep-marine settings, this trend reflects waning of submarine fans (reducing of sand contents).

3. Boxcar trend (cylindrical or block shape) with low gamma and sharp boundaries and no internal change: this trend is predominant in fluvial channel sands, turbidites (typically with greater range of thickness), and aeolian sands. Evaporites also can have a cylindrical gamma trend. Additionally two in-between trends can be recognized: 1. Bow trend (symmetrical or barrel) with gradual decrease then gradual increase in gamma response: this is usually the result of progradation and retrogration of clastic sediments. Irregular trend with lack of character: this trend represents aggradation of shales or silts and can occur in other settings.

2.

Curve character can be smooth, complex or serrated (sawlike) with contacts can be sudden or gradual. The figure below summarises the log response a variety of different clastic depositional systems that Malcolm Rider (1996) assembled in his excellent book on Well Logs. His diagram has been added to and slightly been modified for this web site.

Well Logs: Stacking Patterns of Clastic Parasequences

(Van Wagoner et al., 1990) Progradational Parasequence Sets Successively younger parasequences are deposited farther basinward when the rate of deposition is greater than the rate of accommodation (regression).

Retrogradational Parasequence Sets Successively younger parasequences are deposited farther landward in backstepping pattern when the rate of deposition is less than the rate of accommodation (transgression).

Aggradational Parasequence Sets Successively younger parasequences are deposited above one another with no significant lateral shifts when the rate of accommodation approximates the rate of deposition.

Analysis Pitfalls

Progradational Parasequence Sets of the Lowstand System Tract Stacking patterns and trajectories of progressively younger parasequences which are deposited farther basinward when the rate of deposition is greater than the rate of accommodation (regression) during a fall in base level. Click on image below to access a larger version of this diagram and view grain size distribution and clastic geometries within deepwater fans.

"> Mid Slope Channels Proximal Distal Fan

Toe Slope

Mid Fan

Retrogradational Parasequence Sets of the Transgressive System Tract Stacking patterns and trajectories of progressively younger parasequences which are deposited farther landward when the rate of deposition is less than the rate of accommodation (regression) during a rise in base level. Click on image below to access a larger version of this diagram and view grain size distribution and clastic geometries within deepwater fans.

Aggradational Progradational Parasequence Sets of the Highstand System Tract Stacking patterns and trajectories of progressively younger parasequences which are deposited farther seaward when the rate of deposition exceeds the rate of accommodation (progradation) during a still stand in base level. Click on image below to access a larger version of this diagram and view grain size distribution and clastic geometries within deepwater fans.

Well Logs: Stacking Patterns of Clastic Parasequences

(Van Wagoner et al., 1990) Progradational Parasequence Sets Successively younger parasequences are deposited farther

basinward when the rate of deposition is greater than the rate of accommodation (regression).

Retrogradational Parasequence Sets Successively younger parasequences are deposited farther landward in backstepping pattern when the rate of deposition is less than the rate of accommodation (transgression).

Aggradational Parasequence Sets Successively younger parasequences are deposited above one another with no significant lateral shifts when the rate of accommodation approximates the rate of deposition.

Analysis Pitfalls

Progradational Parasequence Sets of the Lowstand System Tract Stacking patterns and trajectories of progressively younger parasequences which are deposited farther basinward when the rate of deposition is greater than the rate of accommodation (regression) during a fall in base level. Click on image below to access a larger version of this diagram and view grain size distribution and clastic geometries within deepwater fans.

"> Mid Slope Channels Proximal Distal Fan

Toe Slope Mid Fan

Retrogradational Parasequence Sets of the Transgressive System Tract Stacking patterns and trajectories of progressively younger parasequences which are deposited farther landward when the rate of deposition is less than the rate of accommodation (regression) during a rise in base level. Click on image below to access a larger version of this diagram and view grain size distribution and clastic geometries within deepwater fans.

Aggradational Progradational Parasequence Sets of the Highstand System Tract Stacking patterns and trajectories of progressively younger parasequences which are deposited farther seaward when the rate of deposition exceeds the rate of accommodation (progradation) during a still stand in base level. Click on image below to access a larger version of this diagram and view grain size distribution and clastic geometries within deepwater fans.

Deltas SEDIMENTATION & STRATIGRAPHY LECTURE 6: Deltaic Systems I.Herodotus (c. 400 BC) - thought the alluvial plain at mouth of Nile looked like a Barrell (1912) - described the ancient (Devonian) Catskill Delta and defined a delta as "a deposit partly subaerial built by a river into or against a body of permanent water. The outer and lower parts are necessarily constructed below water level, but its upper and inner surface must be land maintained . . . by a river . . . therefore consists of a combination of terrestrial and marine, or at least lacustrine strata." So sediment transport by a RIVER is key to having a delta. II. River processes: sedimentation at the mouth of a river where flow runs into standing sea (or lake) water. Get rapid decrease in shear stress (along with flow expansion at mouth of channel, forcing deposition = distributary mouth bar. A. In a model described by Coleman, the velocity reduction at the river mouth is not uniform across the region of flow expansion. Thus, sedimentation rates on the bar are not exactly equal. If one area gets a bit higher sedimentation than an ancient area, you can develop a bar that has

topography, essentially the mouth bar consists of local highs and lows that causes the flow to split around the highs. This is much like in a braided stream where local areas of flow expansion lead to bar deposition and flow splitting. In the case of delta river mouths this eventually causes the river to split into two, or more, paths. As the river progrades seaward, and the bar builds up above sea level, we find a river pattern on the delta plain (the river dominated, above sea level part of the delta) that is a distributary pattern. Examples of 3 delta types. Upper two examples are of riverdominated deltas, note distributary channel pattern on delta plain. Lower left is a tidedominated delta and lower right a wavedominated delta. Click on figure to go to a printable page. Clicking that page will return you to here. B. Delta Front: The zone just seaward of the river mouth is where the distributary mouth bar is deposited, and represents the area where the

coarsest (usually sandiest) marine sediments are found. This area can be reworked by waves etc., but in general the area just seaward of the shoreline on a delta is called the delta front. The block diagram below shows what types of sediment is found in this part of the delta. Environments and facies of the modern Niger delta (Allen, 1970). Note the distributary mouth bar and beach sands are in the delta front. Click figure to go to printable page, clicking that figure will return you to here. Note on the above figure that the area farther seaward of the delta front is a zone where the fine grained, silt to clay, material carried in by the river is deposited. In this zone sedimentation rates of fine grained material are higher than found farther off on the shelf. These muddy build ups are referred to as the Prodelta zone. III. River-dominated deltas: the type of delta system we have been describing above is dominated by a river that builds a delta pretty much willy nilly into the sea. River dominated deltas are therefore those where other effects, such as much reworking by waves or by tides is minor. These deltas tend to build delta lobes out into the sea. These lobes might have little more than the distributary channel and its levee exposed above sea level. In which case the delta looks something like a bird's foot (upper right example

in first figure above). Other times more of the flood plain between individual distributary channels is exposed above sea level, in which case the delta can have more of a lobed shape. Example of a river dominated delta plain where only the channels and their levees are above sea level. The bays between channels (interdistributary bays) get filled in with bay muds and occassional crevasse splay deposits. The types of fauna that can live in these bays are unusual. The salinity of these waters is brackish (i.e. between fresh water and marine water in saltiness). Some types of critters like this type of water (oysters for example). So not many types of genera live in these muddy environments. Click figure to go to a printable version. Click

that figure to return here. A. Progradation of the distributary channel and its mouth bar into the open sea produces a coarsening and thickening upward sequence. The abandonment of the channel causes the sequence to be overlain (usually pretty abruptly) by mudstones. Note in the example below there is even a mud plug in one of the abandonded channels. Block diagrams showing the progradation and then abandonment of a distributary channel and its distributary mouth bar into the sea. From Frazier and Osanik (1969). Click figure to go to a printable version. Clicking that figure will return you here. B. Of course, like most rivers, distributary channels can avulse. As a result the entire delta lobe which is being fed by the river will stop getting sediment and become abandoned and an new lobe will start to form and prograde where the newly avulsed river hits the sea. The abandoned delta lobe will tend to subside over time as clays beneath are compacted from the

weight of the delta, if the basin is subsiding tectonically and/or as sea level rises and drowns the delta. The result, in all cases, is that the area that had previously been delta deposition becomes submerged and shelf muds are deposited on top and buries these older deposits. Delta lobe abandonment can happen on the time scales of centuries to many millenia as in the example shown below of the Mississippi delta. History of delta lobe abandonment on the Mississippi Delta over the past 5000 years. Click figure to go to printable version of the figure. Clicking that figure will return you here. C. The resulting vertical stratigraphic sequence of a river dominated delta is shown below. The upper figure is the Mississippi Delta idealized sequence. Compare that to the lower sequence which comes from a wave-dominated delta, and, as a result, has less mudstones and channel associated deposits.

Idealized vertical stratigraphic sequences from a riverdominated (upper) and wavedominated (lower) delta. Click on figure to go to a larger, printable version. Clicking that figure will return you here. IV. Wave-dominated deltas: Where rivers dump into the sea in areas of significant wave build up. The action of waves is to constantly rework the delta front. Sediment is carried off down the longshore drift direction. This may cause the delta to have a more cuspate shape, where beveled by wave action. The shoreline down drift of the river mouth may have much better developed and extensive beaches and even sandy spits can form in the down drift direction. Muds carried down the river to the delta can get carried much farther down drift leaving large areas of muddy shoreline in those areas away from the river mouths. The lower stratigraphic section in the figure above shows an idealized vertical stratigraphic sequence through a wavedominated delta. V. Tide-dominated deltas: where river mouths hit the sea in areas affected by large tidal ranges, the delta shape can be extensively reshaped by the twice a day flood and ebb tidal currents moving in and out of the river mouth. This usually happens in bays and estuaries where the river mouth is protected from much wave activity. The relentless in and out currents of tides can sculpt the sediment into elongate tidal bars, such as seen in the lower left delta of the first figure above. At the head of the bay there may be a classic looking delta, in this location referred to as a bay-head delta, but

farther seaward is a zone of lots of tidal bars, islands and inlets caused by tide reworking. A vertical stratigraphic section through this type of deposit will be dominated by lots of muds and sands that show bidirectional (ebbdirected and flood directed) cross bedding and not much evidence of wave reworking (e.g. beaches) nor or strongly prograding rivers (e.g. river dominated lobate deltas). VI. Result of rapid sedimentation rates: One key feature of deltas is that they are areas of very rapid sedimentation rates. As a result lots of features tend to form caused by lots of loose sediment and rapid loading. Such features include slumps, soft sediment deformation, diapirs, etc.