Chapter 2 - Shallow-Marine Architecture


This series of chapters is designed for geoscientists in their first few years of working in the industry, or those wanting to brush up on a range of applied geological and reservoir knowledge. The eBook will begin by covering fluvial architecture and processes from an applied perspective, followed by shallow- and deep-marine architecture and geomorphology.
This chapter specifically looks at depositional environments of shallow-marine reservoirs; their geometry, and common sub-environments. The schema described are those employed by the Ava Clastics application.


Classifying coastal processes

All shallow marine depositional systems are affected to some degree by several depositional processes, divided into two main categories: first, a seaward prograding system whereby there is a large sediment supply (e.g deltas, strandplains, and tidal flats), and secondly,  a retrograding system associated with relative sea-level rise (e.g. estuaries, strandplains, and lagoons) (Siddiqui et al., 2017) (Fig. 1). A ternary diagram is used to define these processes in relation to wave, tidal and fluvial influence (Fig. 2), and the relative importance of depositional environment in controlling depositional architecture.

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Image for eBook Shallow Marine Coastal Environment


Figure 1. Diagram showing how coastal environments evolve through transgression and progradation. Through progradation, systems develop into deltaic and tidal environments, whereas during transgression, estuaries are dominant (adapted after Reading and Collinson 1996).

Dr. Sarah Cobain

SarahDr. Cobain is currently a geoscientist at PDS Group UK helping the Ava team create next-generation sedimentology technology to improve reservoir characterisation and geomodelling. She earned her PhD from the University of Leeds Institute of Applied Geosciences in field-based deep-water sedimentology studying: The mechanisms, distribution, and subsurface implications of clastic dyke and sill emplacement. During her graduate studies, she completed field work in South Africa, Utah, Canada and Argentina, and gained valuable industry experience during a 3 month placement working for Statoil in their Petroleum Technology team where she collaborated with other geoscientists to forward-model outcrop scale, and map subsurface-scale, clastic injectites in the North Sea.

Dr. Cobain is the author of Chapter 1, Fluvial Architecture, in the eBook, Survival Guide to Fluvial Modelling, and has several publications with industry and academic peers including those in Geological Society of America Bulletin and Basin Research.