[This article belongs to Volume - 46, Issue - 03]

Sediment transport mechanism and development characteristics of subaqueous fan in the northern steep slope zone of Lijin sag

The sedimentary architectures of submarine/sublacustrine fans are controlled by sedimentary processes, geomorphology and sediment composition in sediment gravity flows. To advance understanding of sedimentary architecture of debris fans formed predominantly by debris flows in deep-water environments, a sub-lacustrine fan (Y11 fan) within a lacustrine succession has been identified and studied through the integration of core data, well logging data and 3D seismic data in the Eocene Dongying Depression, Bohai Bay Basin, east China. Six types of resedimented lithofacies can be recognized, which are further grouped into five broad lithofacies associations. Quantification of gravity flow processes on the Y11 fan is suggested by quantitative lithofacies analysis, which demonstrates that the fan is dominated by debris flows, while turbidity currents and sandy slumps are less important. The distribution, geometry and sedimentary architecture are documented using well data and 3D seismic data. A well-developed depositional lobe with a high aspect ratio is identified based on a sandstone isopach map. Canyons and/or channels are absent, which is probably due to the unsteady sediment supply from delta-front collapse. Distributary tongue-shaped debris flow deposits can be observed at different stages of fan growth, suggesting a lobe constructed by debrite tongue complexes. Within each stage of the tongue complexes, architectural elements are interpreted by wireline log motifs showing amalgamated debrite tongues, which constitute the primary fan elements. Based on lateral lithofacies distribution and vertical sequence analysis, it is proposed that lakefloor erosion, entrainment and dilution in the flow direction lead to an organized distribution of sandy debrites, muddy debrites and turbidites on individual debrite tongues. Plastic rheology of debris flows combined with fault-related topography are considered the major factors that control sediment distribution and fan architecture. An important implication of this study is that a deep-water depositional model for debrite–dominated systems was proposed, which may be applicable to other similar deep-water environments.