Open-framework gravels (OFGs) form common lithofacies of alluvial fans. However, inferences of their mechanisms of transport and deposition, and of controls on their distribution in alluvial-fan successions, remain difficult, limiting our ability to interpret the environmental significance of such deposits and to predict their distributions in ancient successions. From an applied standpoint, such predictions are important in the development of hydrocarbon reservoirs and remediation of aquifers hosted in alluvial-fan strata. To elucidate our understanding of formative conditions of different types of OFGs, a study has been undertaken on the Quaternary Poplar Fan, in the endorheic Heshituoluogai Basin, China. Based on observations from outcrops and trenches on the Poplar Fan, eight different types of OFGs are identified: these lithofacies types account for 7% of the total deposits of the fan. During high flow stages, OFGs are deposited in association with supercritical sheet-like flow (type 1), unconfined streamflow (type 2), and flow in groundwater-fed channels (type 3). During low flow stages, OFGs are associated with trough cross stratification (type 4) and sigmoidal cross-stratification (type 5); these types occur over the entire fan. At the fan margins, OFGs are associated with gulleys (type 6), especially at the distal fan toe. Other OFG types are associated with bank collapse (type 7) or intercalated with aeolian deposits (type 8). A model is proposed to account for the distribution of different types of OFGs across the fan, wherein types 1, 2 and 4 seen in the medial fan are dominant. This provides a framework for the identification, prediction and correlation of OGFs in subsurface alluvial-fan successions.

Sedimentation of open-framework gravels in alluvial-fan settings: Quaternary Poplar Fan, northwest China

Luca Colombera;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Open-framework gravels (OFGs) form common lithofacies of alluvial fans. However, inferences of their mechanisms of transport and deposition, and of controls on their distribution in alluvial-fan successions, remain difficult, limiting our ability to interpret the environmental significance of such deposits and to predict their distributions in ancient successions. From an applied standpoint, such predictions are important in the development of hydrocarbon reservoirs and remediation of aquifers hosted in alluvial-fan strata. To elucidate our understanding of formative conditions of different types of OFGs, a study has been undertaken on the Quaternary Poplar Fan, in the endorheic Heshituoluogai Basin, China. Based on observations from outcrops and trenches on the Poplar Fan, eight different types of OFGs are identified: these lithofacies types account for 7% of the total deposits of the fan. During high flow stages, OFGs are deposited in association with supercritical sheet-like flow (type 1), unconfined streamflow (type 2), and flow in groundwater-fed channels (type 3). During low flow stages, OFGs are associated with trough cross stratification (type 4) and sigmoidal cross-stratification (type 5); these types occur over the entire fan. At the fan margins, OFGs are associated with gulleys (type 6), especially at the distal fan toe. Other OFG types are associated with bank collapse (type 7) or intercalated with aeolian deposits (type 8). A model is proposed to account for the distribution of different types of OFGs across the fan, wherein types 1, 2 and 4 seen in the medial fan are dominant. This provides a framework for the identification, prediction and correlation of OGFs in subsurface alluvial-fan successions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1477068
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