Deltaic sedimentary environments in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

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Abstract

This study is focused on the geomorphology of surface sedimentary environments contained in the fluvial, tidal and wave-dominated areas of the Niger Delta. GIS techniques applied to high-quality Landsat and SPOT images were used to identify and map landforms and processes, as well as quantitatively characterise their metrics and spatial distribution. A detailed analysis shows that the extent of the Niger Delta is 70,000 km2, contrary to previous publications that reported 75,000 km2. The delta has also been remapped and classified into mega sedimentary environments: the upper deltaic plain is 69% of the total extent, while the lower deltaic plain and delta front are 25% and 6% respectively. Other subunits were distinguished and mapped within the upper deltaic plain such as fluvial channels, point bars, braid bars, oxbow lakes, and other lakes. Tidal channels, beaches and spits were identified in the lower deltaic plain and delta front. The geometries of these sedimentary bodies (landforms) appear to be relatively scale-invariant, thus meaning that from the measurement of some dimensional parameters (e.g. the length) it is possible to estimate all others (e.g. the width and overall extent). This is an aspect of great relevance in subsurface analyses where it is often difficult to predict the extent of sedimentary bodies. The correlation between channel width and length (r2 = 0.9), is the strongest relationship found between sedimentary body metrics.

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George, C. F., Macdonald, D. I. M., & Spagnolo, M. (2019). Deltaic sedimentary environments in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2019.103592

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