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Volume 31 Issue 4
Aug 2020
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Mengtian Gao, Shang Xu, Haiteng Zhuo, Yuxuan Wang, Shaobo Wu. Coupling Relationship between Shelf-Edge Trajectories and Slope Morphology and Its Implications for Deep-Water Oil and Gas Exploration: A Case Study from the Passive Continental Margin, East Africa. Journal of Earth Science, 2020, 31(4): 820-833. doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1288-8
Citation: Mengtian Gao, Shang Xu, Haiteng Zhuo, Yuxuan Wang, Shaobo Wu. Coupling Relationship between Shelf-Edge Trajectories and Slope Morphology and Its Implications for Deep-Water Oil and Gas Exploration: A Case Study from the Passive Continental Margin, East Africa. Journal of Earth Science, 2020, 31(4): 820-833. doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1288-8

Coupling Relationship between Shelf-Edge Trajectories and Slope Morphology and Its Implications for Deep-Water Oil and Gas Exploration: A Case Study from the Passive Continental Margin, East Africa

doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1288-8
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  • Corresponding author: Shang Xu xushang,; Haiteng Zhuo,
  • Received Date: 13 Nov 2019
  • Accepted Date: 26 Feb 2020
  • Publish Date: 24 Aug 2020
  • Both the shelf-edge trajectories and slope morphology are indicative of deep-water sedimentation, but previous studies are relatively independent from each other in the two dimensions. An integrated investigation can enhance the understanding of deep-water sedimentary systems and enrich reservoir prediction methods. Based on the bathymetry data and seismic data published, this study identified ten slope areas at the continental margin of East Africa and classified the clinoforms into three types:concave-up, sigmoidal and planar. Combined with the distribution of main modern rivers in East Africa, nine modern source-to-sink systems were identified and the catchment area is positively correlated with the size of the shelf-edge delta. It is found that the slope morphology of East Africa is closely related to the geological setting, sediment supply and sediment transport pathway in submarine canyon of passive continental margin. When the sediment supply is stable, the concave-up slopes are dominated by the river-associated and shelf-incising canyons and the sigmoidal slopes are determined by the headless canyons. There exists a strong coupling relationship between the shelf-edge trajectories and slope morphology. In general, concave-up slopes correspond to descending trend, flat and low-angle ascending trend shelf-edge trajectories and high-quality reservoirs developed on the basin floor under the influence of river-associated and shelf-incising canyons which have bright prospects for oil and gas exploration. Additionally, sigmoidal slopes usually correspond to descending trend, flat and low-angle ascending trend shelf-edge trajectories at times of relative sea-level fall and the reservoirs mostly developed on the upper slope under the influence of headless canyons. Moreover, the planar slopes correspond to high-angle ascending trend trajectories which are hardly potential for exploration. The coupling model built in this study will provide an insight for oil and gas exploration in deep-water areas with limited data and low exploration degree.


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