Variability of tidal signals in the Brent Delta Front: New observations on the Rannoch Formation, northern North Sea

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Detailed observations on the Rannoch Formation in several deep Viking Graben wells indicate that the 'classical' wave-dominated Brent delta-front shows coupled storm-tide processes. The tidal signals are of three types: I): alternations of thick cross-laminated sandstone and thin mud-draped sandstone, whereby double mud drapes are prominent but discretely distributed, II): a few tidal bundles within bottomsets and foresets of up to 10 cm-thick sets cross-strata, and III): dm-thick heterolithic lamination showing multiple, well-organized sand-mud couplets.During progradation of the Brent Delta, the Rannoch shoreline system passed upward from 1) a succession dominated by clean-water, storm-event sets and cosets frequently and preferentially interbedded with type I tidal beds, and occasional types II and III tidal deposits, toward 2) very clean storm-event beds less frequently separated by types II and III tidal beds, and then into 3) a thin interval showing muddier storm-event beds mainly alternating with type II tidal beds.It is likely that those variations in preservation bias of storm and tidal beds in each facies succession result from combined effects of 1) the frequency and duration of storms; 2) river discharge; and 3) the absolute and relative strength of tides. Tidal deposits are interpreted as inter-storm, fair-weather deposits, occurred preferentially in longer intermittent fair-weather condition and periods of lower river discharge, and well-pronounced in the distal-reach of delta-front. The formation and preservation of tidal signals between storm beds, indicate that the studied Rannoch Formation was most likely a storm-dominated, tide-influenced delta front 1) near the mouth of a large Brent river, where a significant tidal prism and high tidal range might be expected, and 2) in a setting where there were relatively high sedimentation rates associated with high local subsidence rates, so that the storm waves did not completely rework the inter-storm deposits. The documentation of the unconventional Rannoch Formation contributes to our understanding of mixed-energy coastal systems.




Wei, X., Steel, R. J., Ravnås, R., Jiang, Z., Olariu, C., & Li, Z. (2016). Variability of tidal signals in the Brent Delta Front: New observations on the Rannoch Formation, northern North Sea. Sedimentary Geology, 335, 166–179.

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