Upper Miocene to Quaternary unidirectionally migrating deep-water channels in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, northern South China Sea

  • Gong C
  • Wang Y
  • Zhu W
 et al. 
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A series of short and steep unidirectionally migrating deep- water channels, which are typically without levees and migrate progressively northeastward, are identified in the Baiyun de- pression, Pearl River Mouth Basin. Using three-dimensional seismic and well data, the current study documents their mor- phology, internal architecture, and depositional history, and discusses the distribution and depositional controls on the bottom current–reworked sands within these channels. Unidirectionally migrating deep-water channels consist of different channel-complex sets (CCSs) that are, overall, short and steep, and their northeastern walls are, overall, steeper than their southwestern counterparts. Within each CCS, bot- tom current–reworked sands in the lower part grade upward into muddy slumps and debris-flow deposits and, finally, into shale drapes. Three stages of CCSs development are recognized: (1) the early lowstand incision stage, during which intense gravity and/ or turbidity flows versus relatively weak along-slope bottom currents of the North Pacific intermediate water (NPIW-BCs) resulted in basal erosional bounding surfaces and limited bottom current–reworked sands; (2) the late lowstand lateral-migration and active-fill stage, with gradual CCS widening and progres- sively northeastward migration, characterized by reworking of gravity- and/or turbidity-flow deposits by vigorous NPIW-BCs and theCCSs being mainly filled by bottomcurrent–reworked sands and limited slumps and debris-flow deposits; and (3) the transgression abandonment stage, characterized by the ter- mination of the gravity and/or turbidity flows and the CCSs being widely draped by marine shales. These three stages re- peated through time, leading to the generation of unidirec- tionallymigrating deep-water channels. The distribution of the bottom current–reworked sands varies both spatially and temporally. Spatially, these sands mainly accumulate along the axis of the unidirectionally mi- grating deep-water channels and are preferentially deposited to the side toward which the channels migrated. Temporally, these sands mainly accumulated during the late lowstand lateral-migration and active-fill stage. The bottom current–reworked sands developed under the combined action of gravity and/or turbidity flows and along- slope bottom currents of NPIW-BCs. Other factors, including relative sea level fluctuations, sediment supply, and slope con- figurations, also affected the formation and distribution of these sands.Theproposeddistributionpatternof thebottomcurrent– reworked sands has practical implications for predicting res- ervoir occurrence and distribution in bottom current–related channels

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  • Chenglin Gong

  • Yingmin Wang

  • Weilin Zhu

  • Weiguo Li

  • Qiang Xu

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