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Modern Seafloor Depositional Systems

Offshore West Africa and North Sea, Canadian Maritime Province (Past Projects)

Offshore West Africa

Near-surface, high-resolution 3-D seismic datasets in the region of the Niger Delta, West Africa, provide an excellent means to assess and refine models of deep-water depositional systems due to their unparalleled resolution of deposits over large areas (Adedayo Adeogba, 2003). The application of Adedayo's work in near-surface seismic data interpretation is in gaining a better understanding of the distribution of reservoir facies in other, complex slope depositional settings. SPODDS research has also included a 3D seismic reflection-based study of the avulsion histories and evolution of channel systems on the sea floor and shallow subsurface of the Niger Delta continental slope (Dominic Armitage, 2009) and studies of the types and evolution of Cenozoic to modern submarine canyons off Equatorial Guinea (Zane Jobe, 2010).

North Sea

Canadian Maritime Province

Central California

Recent to modern submarine fan systems offer unique insights into the processes of sandy deep-water sedimentation. Analysis of modern systems provides turbidite researchers a glimpse of sea-floor morphology as well as timing and distribution of sediment gravity flow deposits. Factors that influence deep-water sedimentation, such as (1) basin setting, (2) source-to-basin sediment dispersal, (3) source area composition, (4) structural/tectonic activity, (5) sea level stands, and (6) climatic fluctuations, are relatively well-known for Holocene systems (last 11,000 years) and, thus, provide a contextual framework for understanding controls on deep-water sedimentation.

Katherine Maier is currently analyzing AUV bathymetry images and chirp sub-bottom profiles from the Lucia Chica, offshore central California as part of a collaborative project with Stanford, USGS, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and Chevron ETC.

California Borderland

Recent to modern submarine fan systems offer unique insights into the processes of sandy deep-water sedimentation. Analysis of modern systems provides turbidite researchers a glimpse of sea-floor morphology as well as timing and distribution of sediment gravity flow deposits. Factors that influence deep-water sedimentation, such as (1) basin setting, (2) source-to-basin sediment dispersal, (3) source area composition, (4) structural/tectonic activity, (5) sea level stands, and (6) climatic fluctuations, are relatively well-known for Holocene systems (last 11,000 years) and, thus, provide a contextual framework for understanding controls on deep-water sedimentation. Former SPODDS students were fortunate to collaborate with USGS, Menlo Park marine geologist Bill Normark, who has studied modern deep-water systems around the world for decades. This collaboration continues with Mary McGann (USGS, Menlo Park) and broadens our analyses and knowledge of deep-water sedimentation.

Brian Romans studied the evolution and architecture of the Hueneme Fan through the Holocene in the Santa Monica Basin as part of his Ph.D. research (completed 2008). Jake Covault's Ph.D. (completed 2008) involved work on high-resolution near-surface seismic-reflection analysis of a Late Quaternary, littoral drift fed turbidite system (the San Diego Trough). Abena Temeng completed a Masters thesis (2009) on the Newport Canyon system using high-resolution AUV bathymetric data and chirp sub-bottom profiles.

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