Meandering river deposits in sediment cores, the Middle Jurassic Alma Field, Southern Danish Central Graben

A.C. Glad*, M.E. Willumsen, L.O. Boldreel, L.B. Clemmensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Fluvial deposits are amongst the most important terrestrial hydrocarbon reservoirs, but the complex nature of these deposits is challenging in subsurface reservoir characterisation. This study is the first detailed facies analysis of the meandering river deposits of the Middle Jurassic Alma Field situated in the southern Danish North Sea. The fluvial sandstones and their associated deposits are described and interpreted based on studies from two core sites (Alma-1X and Alma-2X). The facies analysis of the cores demonstrates the presence of three meandering river facies associations: Channel deposits, channel margin deposits and floodplain deposits. The channel deposits comprise channel thalweg and point bar sediments, the channel margin deposits include crevasse channel and crevasse splay sediments, while the floodplain deposits comprise overbank and backswamp sediments. The point bar deposits are composed of fine- to medium-grained sandstones but can contain intervals of finer grained sediments, particularly in their upper parts where they can grade into muddy sandstones or true heterolithic deposits. Preserved sand body thicknesses (channel thalweg and point bar deposits) in both Alma cores have a mean value of 2.6 m and a maximum value of 4.35 m (Alma-1X) and 6.55 m (Alma 2X). Using maximum values of channel deposit thicknesses, and assuming the preservation conditions are met, the width of the largest ancient channel belt in Alma-1X would be between 90 m and 200 m or around 900 m, depending on whether the fluvial system is mud-rich or sand-rich. The same method applied to Alma 2X gives a width of the largest channel belt between 130 m and 330 m or around 1300 m.Fluvial sediments of the Middle Jurassic Scalby Formation (north-east England) were deposited in a sandy meandering river with sedimentary characteristics corresponding to those observed in the Alma cores. Outcrop analogue investigations of this formation were carried out to examine the architecture of the fluvial fades in a two-dimensional section with emphasis on channel thalweg and point bar deposits. Combined evidence from core analysis and outcrop analogue studies suggests that the fluvial deposits in the Alma Field represent a mixed-load meandering river system with sandy point bars. The meandering river system developed on a coastal plain with overbank fines and organic-rich backswamp deposits. The mud-rich or heterolithic deposits in the upper part of the point bar fades intervals are noteworthy and could indicate markedly fluctuating discharge in a mixed-load river.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark
    Pages (from-to)189-209
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Meandering river deposits
    • Middle Jurassic
    • Alma Field
    • Core studies
    • Facies analysis
    • Analogue outcrop study
    • Fluvial reservoirs


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