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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access December 31, 2019

Sedimentary model of K-Successions Sandstones in H21 Area of Huizhou Depression, Pearl River Mouth Basin, South China Sea

  • Jinliang Zhang , Zhongqiang Sun EMAIL logo , Longlong Liu and Yang Li
From the journal Open Geosciences

Abstract

The nearshore sand bar-sheet sedimentary system of the K-Successions sandstones of the Zhujiang Formation (23.8-16.5 Ma) in H21 Area of Huizhou Depression, Pearl River Mouth Basin has been identified in this research according to lithological characteristics, lithofacies, sedimentary sequence and seismic attributes. Seven lithofacies were recognized: fine-grained massive sandstone (Sm), fine-grained trough cross-bedded sandstone (St), fine-grained planar-bedded sandstone (Sp), fine-grained ripple cross-bedded sandstone (Sr), fine grained horizontally-bedded sandstone (Sh), laminated claystone with interbedded siltstone (Fl) and massive mudstone (Fm). Three sedimentary microfacies were further divided: sand bar, sand sheet and interbar. With the progradation and retrogradation process influenced by sea level changing, delta evolution of K-Successions sandstones in H21 area of Huizhou Depression can be divided into four stages: the early stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1; the medium stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1; the end stage of transgressive systems tract; the stage of the highstand systems tract, A/S<1. Different evolution stages controlled the sandstones distribution.

1 Introduction

The research of sedimentary model including sedimentary environment and lithological characteristics analysis plays an important role in the hydrocarbon reservoir exploration and development. For specific sedimentary systems or models, we can further determine the distribution of sandstones, so as to provide support for the search for oil and hydrocarbon reservoirs.

After years of development, H21 area of Huizhou Depression in Pearl River Mouth Basin has been proved to be rich in hydrocarbon potential (Figure 1), the K-Successions sandstones of the Zhujiang Formation (23.8-16.5 Ma) are currently the most productive of all chronostratigraphic units in H21 area of the Huizhou Depression [1, 2, 3]. However, there are not significant progress of the reservoir’s exploration and development in H21 area during recent years, because of the controversial explanations in the sedimentary model and the distribution of K-Successions sandstones. For instance, Li and Zheng indicated that sandstone in Zhujiang Formation deposited in fluvialdominated delta sedimentary environment [4]. Zhao and Deng proposed that deposits of lower Zhujiang Formation were formed in tide-dominated shoreline environment [5]. Ding and Du et al. insisted that K-Successions sandstones of Zhujiang Formation in Huizhou Depression were preferentially present on high paleo-tectonic locations with the former delta as sediments provenance and influenced by tide and wave during transgression stage [6]. Different perspectives brought more uncertainty sedimentary environment explanation and prediction of sandstones distribution. Marine sedimentary environments have extremely complex hydrodynamic conditions, especially those areas influenced by wave, river and tidal, these processes will influence the sedimentary environment, characteristics and distribution of these sediments in different sedimentary systems alone or interactively [7, 8, 9]. Thus, a detailed and precise sedimentary model analysis is required to guide future prediction of sand body distribution and exploration of K-Successions sandstones in H21 area of Huizhou Depression. The objective of this article is to identify the sedimentary model and facies evolution of K-Successions sandstones during the cycle of relative sea-level in H21 area of Huizhou Depression.

Figure 1 Distribution of tectonic units and location of the H21 Area in Huizhou Depression. (a, location map of the Pearl River Mouth Basin in the South China Sea; b, location map of the study area and the tectonic units of the Pearl River Mouth Basin; c, the location of H21 area in Huizhou Depression)
Figure 1

Distribution of tectonic units and location of the H21 Area in Huizhou Depression. (a, location map of the Pearl River Mouth Basin in the South China Sea; b, location map of the study area and the tectonic units of the Pearl River Mouth Basin; c, the location of H21 area in Huizhou Depression)

In this study, we focused on the information of wave-dominated sedimentary processes that are integrated with logging, seismic, sedimentary structures, lithofacies and sedimentary sequences to evaluate the sediments responses of these processes and confirmed the nearshore sand bar-sheet sedimentary system, which is different from previous researchers [10, 11, 12, 13]. The study also provides valuable insight into the depositional regime in the Pearl River Mouth Basin or other similar areas influenced by wave, river and tidal around the world [13, 14].

2 Geological setting

The Pearl River Mouth Basin is on the northern margin of the South China Sea [15], E11310-11800, N1830-2330, it is a large Cenozoic - dominated depositional basin in China. The Pearl River Mouth Basin consist of five tectonic units: Northern Uplift Zone, Northern Depression Zone, Central Uplift Zone, Southern Depression Zone and Southern Uplift Zone (Figure 1) [1, 2, 16]. Huizhou Depression is located in the middle part of the Northern Depression Zone with an area of about 7400km2 and bounded by the Northern Uplift Zone to the north, Xijiang Depression to the west, Huilu Uplift to the east and Dongsha Uplift to the south (Figure 1) [17, 18]. The H21 area is located in the south of Huizhou Depression and deposited NE-trending banded shelf sand ridges which are known as K-Successions sandstones. The geomorphology of study area is controlled by the NW-trending fault systems, it is mainly composed of tectonic or tectonic-lithologic traps [19, 20, 21].

The Neogene strata in Huizhou depression consists of 4 formations: Zhujiang Formation, Hanjiang Formation, Yuehai Formation and Wanshan Formation, they mainly experienced Dongsha tectonic movement (Figure 2) [1, 22, 23]. Zhujiang Formation strata had been formed in the Early Miocene period (23.8-16.5 Ma) with the thickness of 750-350 m (Figure 2). The source rocks mainly deposited in Wenchang and Enping formations, and the sandstone reservoirs are located in Zhujiang and Zhuhai formations, Zhujiang Formation mainly consist of mudstone, silty mudstone, argillaceous siltstone and fine-to coarsegrained sandstone, mudstone content is about 50%. The K-Successions shelf sand ridges were mainly formed during about 18.5-17 million years, the sedimentary mechanism and environment of these sand ridges should be explained further [24].

Figure 2 Lithology section of H21 Area showing location of Zhujiang Formation and K-Successions sandstones. (modified from [1, 2])
Figure 2

Lithology section of H21 Area showing location of Zhujiang Formation and K-Successions sandstones. (modified from [1, 2])

3 Materials and methods

This analysis was on the basis of seismic, well logs and cores data from 12 wells, which drilled K-Successions sandstones of the Zhujiang Formation in the H21 Area, these data were collected from Shenzhen Branch of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). Meanwhile, 45 core samples were also collected to analyze the sediments compositional and textural characteristics. The formula Ic=Q/(F+R) (Ic: The compositional maturity; Q, F, and R represent the content of quartz, feldspar, and rock debris) was used to calculated the compositional maturity [25]. The textural characteristics of samples (grain size, roundness, shape, sorting and weathering) were applied to describe textural maturity of the K-Successions sandstone, grain size (ϕ) is the most important textural characteristics of clastic sediments (ϕ = − log2D, D: particle diameter) [26], roundness is the important textural characteristics of clastic sediments (roundness=rn/R,r: Inscribed circle radius of corner; n: Number of corner; R: Maximum inscribed circle radius of particles, angular: 0-0.15, sub-angular: 0.15-0.25, subrounded: 0.25-0.4, rounded: 0.4-0.6) [27], sorting (S0) is the parameters of sediment sorting degree (S0 = P25/P75, P25: particle diameter of the cumulative particle content is 25%, P75: particle diameter of the cumulative particle content is 75%, well: 1-2.5, moderate: 2.5-4, poor: >4). Cores were used to analyze the sedimentary structures and lithofacies, sedimentary sequences were also established to observe the lithofacies combination and identify sedimentary environment and facies, well logs data indicates different lithology, seismic attributes especially root mean-square amplitude attributes (RMS) were extracted to analyze and predict the sand morphology and distribution and some mappings were used to describe sedimentary sequences.

4 Results

4.1 Lithological characteristics

Sedimentary processes of different stratigraphic architectures determine the colors, structures, textures, compositional maturity and textural maturity of clastic sediments, these lithological characteristics has a great significance in sedimentary facies analysis [10]. According to the analysis of core samples, the K-Successions stratum mainly consist of mudstone, silty mudstone, pelitic siltstone, siltstone and fine sandstone and limestone (Figure 3). To some extent, the fine-grained sediments reflect the process of re-transporting and depositing of clastic sediments influenced by wave and coastal currents.

Figure 3 Lithology triangle figure and lithologic characteristics of K-Successions sandstones. (a, the lithology triangle figure; b, lithologic characteristics histogram)
Figure 3

Lithology triangle figure and lithologic characteristics of K-Successions sandstones. (a, the lithology triangle figure; b, lithologic characteristics histogram)

The sandstones mainly consist of lithic arkose, arkose quartzite and a small amount of lithic quartzarenite and feldapatic litharenite (Figure 3), the content of quartz ranges from 47% to 88.5%, with an average of 73%, feldspars range from 7.3% to 27% with an average of 16%, rock fragments range from 1% to 31% with an average of 11% (Table 1, Figure 4) [28]. The content of quartz is higher in this sedimentary environment comparing with subaerial sedimentary systems, but it is lower than tide-dominated depositional environment, the content of feldspar and rock fragments is lower [3]. Besides, there are also some fossils, micas, authigenic clay minerals, pyrites, siderites, dolomite cements, calcite cements and porosities.

Figure 4 Sediments composition and compositional maturity of the sandstone of K-Successions sandstones. (a, the characteristics of sediments composition, showing the content of quartz ranges from 47% to 88.5%, with an average of 73.12% and mean value of 73.08, feldspars range from 7.3% to 27% with an average of 16% and mean value of 15.66, rock fragments range from 1% to 31% with an average of 11% and mean value of 11.54; b, compositional maturity of the sandstone of K-Successions, showing the compositional maturity ranges from 0.9 to 7.7 with an average of 3.1 and mean value of 2.71)
Figure 4

Sediments composition and compositional maturity of the sandstone of K-Successions sandstones. (a, the characteristics of sediments composition, showing the content of quartz ranges from 47% to 88.5%, with an average of 73.12% and mean value of 73.08, feldspars range from 7.3% to 27% with an average of 16% and mean value of 15.66, rock fragments range from 1% to 31% with an average of 11% and mean value of 11.54; b, compositional maturity of the sandstone of K-Successions, showing the compositional maturity ranges from 0.9 to 7.7 with an average of 3.1 and mean value of 2.71)

Compositional maturity represents the extent of the clastic sediments approaching to the final and stable sediments. Then, the different content of main clastic components may display different maturity that quartz is much more stable than feldspar and rock debris during weathering and transporting [28]. The Figure 4 indicates that the Ic (The compositional maturity) ranges from 1.0 to 7.9 with an average of 3.1, the K-Successions sandstones have moderate compositional maturity and indicates that the sediments undergone transportation and transformation with constant source supply, which is in obvious contrast with the high compositional maturity of tidal ridges lacking the constant source supply [29, 30].

Table 1

The main sediments composition of the K-Successions sandstone

WellEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Depth2258.62258.862259.982260.752260.962261.072261.822263.12263.752263.942264.472264.632265.562266.12266.8
Quartz69.1965.1974.6376.6873.2270.3965.8266.0971.7370.9068.6763.1970.9364.1271.11
Feldspar16.7618.7814.4316.0617.4920.6716.4621.2616.7514.8119.2820.3316.8621.1815.56
Rock fragments14.0516.0210.957.259.298.9417.7212.6411.5214.2912.0516.4812.2114.7113.33
lc2.251.872.943.292.732.381.931.952.542.442.191.722.441.792.46
WellEEEEEEEHHHJJJJG
Depth2267.792268.082268.912269.522270.772271.422271.552030.592030.832040.081793.517951804.52216.71885.4
Quartz70.3372.2952.1760.1247.0673.0873.1880.0071.8385.9682.8679.7670.7778.0584.81
Feldspar18.1315.6616.8519.6427.0614.2915.6417.1423.9410.5311.4311.9013.857.3212.66
Rock fragments11.5412.0530.9820.2425.8812.6411.172.864.233.515.718.3315.3814.632.53
lc2.372.611.091.510.892.712.734.002.556.134.833.942.423.565.58
WellGGGGGGGGGGGNNNN
Depth1887.062002.472005.162006.182009.781883.861889.321892.881927.91930.221935.851793.517951804.52216.7
Quartz84.8877.3883.7588.5183.7074.4368.2473.8471.7675.0073.2182.8679.7670.7778.05
Feldspar12.7920.2413.7510.3414.1317.6122.3519.4113.5312.7914.8811.4311.9013.857.32
Rock fragments2.332.382.501.152.177.959.416.7514.7112.2111.905.718.3315.3814.63
lc5.623.425.157.705.132.912.152.822.543.002.734.833.942.423.56

The concept of textural maturity was first proposed by Folk [31], it is the comprehensive reflection of the final textural characteristics of clastic sediments undergoing the weathering, transportation, deposition and transformation. According to the textural maturity analysis of the K-Successions sandstones: the main range of grain size is 0.03-6 ϕ, average grain size is 0.29-1.8 ϕ, maximum grain size is inhomogeneous, moderate sorting, subangular-subrounded roundness and moderate weathering are dominant, therefore, textural maturity of the sandstone is also moderate and undergone transformation process (Table 2, Figure 5), this process may be dominated by coastal currents and waves [32, 33].

Figure 5 Textural characteristics of the sandstoneof K-Successions sandstones. (a, grain characteristics of the sandstone, showing the minimum and maximum of main grain size, maximum grain size and average grain size, the main range of grain size is 0.03-6 ϕ, maximum grain size range from 0.88 to 6.25 ϕ with an average of 2.65 ϕ and mean value of 2.13 ϕ; average grain size range from 0.29 to 1.8 ϕ with an average of 0.5 ϕ and mean value of 0.44 ϕ; b, roundness, weathering, sorting and maturity of the sandstone)
Figure 5

Textural characteristics of the sandstoneof K-Successions sandstones. (a, grain characteristics of the sandstone, showing the minimum and maximum of main grain size, maximum grain size and average grain size, the main range of grain size is 0.03-6 ϕ, maximum grain size range from 0.88 to 6.25 ϕ with an average of 2.65 ϕ and mean value of 2.13 ϕ; average grain size range from 0.29 to 1.8 ϕ with an average of 0.5 ϕ and mean value of 0.44 ϕ; b, roundness, weathering, sorting and maturity of the sandstone)

Table 2

Textural characteristics of the K-Successions sandstone

Sample No.Depth (m)range of grain size (ϕ)maximum grain size (ϕ)average grain size (ϕ)roundnesssortingweathering degreematurity
12258.860.06-11.250.43subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
22259.980.06-1.51.750.36subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
32260.750.06-230.41subroundedmoderatedeeply weatheredmoderate
42260.960.06-23.250.49subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
52261.070.06-22.50.67subangular- subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
62261.820.06-44.250.46subangular- subroundedpoorModerately weatheredmoderate
72263.750.09-1.51.750.47subroundedwellModerately weatheredhigh maturity
82263.940.06-1.830.34subangularmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
92264.470.12-11.40.45subangular- subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
102264.630.06-1.51.750.29subangular- subroundedmoderatedeeply weatheredmoderate
112265.560.06-1.42.00.38subangular- subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
122266.10.06-1.82.250.47subangular- subroundedpoorModerately weatheredmoderate
132266.80.06-0.750.880.33subangularwelldeeply weatheredhigh maturity
142267.790.06-1.51.90.36subangular- subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
152268.080.06-11.40.32subangular- subroundedpoorModerately weatheredmoderate
162269.520.19-45.50.63subangular- subroundedpoorModerately weatheredmoderate
172269.910.06-66.250.65subangular- subroundedmoderatedeeply weatheredmoderate
182270.770.19-66.251.8subangularmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
192271.420.06-33.250.49subangular- subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate
202271.550.12-22.250.43subangular- subroundedmoderateModerately weatheredmoderate

4.2 Lithofacies and sedimentary sequence

Sedimentological features of sandstones (lithology, geometry and continuity, sedimentary structures) are used to identify and interpret lithofacies [34], it is an important sign for sedimentary facies analysis. The cores of K-Successions sandstones show some typical sedimentary structures: ripple cross-bedded, parallel-bedded, wavy-bedded, lenticular-bedded, flaser-bedded, massive-bedded, trough cross-bedded, deformation structure, reverse graded-bedded and sharp contact relation (Figure 6),these sedimentary structures indicate the shallow wave-dominate sedimentary environment in inner shelf above the wave base surface, however, there are unobvious evidences for tidal sand ridges in outer shelf with deep water environment, such as herringbone cross-bedded, reactivation surface, double clay layer and typical trace fossil in marine environment. Seven lithofacies were recognized in K-Successions sandstones: fine-grained massive sandstone (Sm) consists of fine to very fine-grained sandstone with massive-bedded, moderately sorted [28, 30, 35], these lithofacies intervals are 0.5 to 3.2 mthick, forming no apparent changing sedimentary sequences in grain size; fine-grained trough cross-bedded sandstone (St) consists of very fine- to fine-grained with trough cross-bedded or low angle cross-bedded [28, 30, 35], the St lithofacies intervals are 0.8 to 1.5 m thick, forming fining-upward sedimentary sequences, the lower boundary of St is sharp and flat with facies Fm or Fl and erosional with facies Fm, upper boundary is usually gradational with facies Sm or Sp; fine-grained planar-bedded sandstone (Sp) consists of very fine- to fine-grained sandstone or siltstone [28, 30, 35], these lithofacies intervals are 0.55 to 3.8 m thick, forming continuous sandstone sedimentary sequences, the upper and lower boundaries can be sharp with facies Fm or Fl, the upper contact also can deposit continuously with facies St or Sm [28, 30, 35]; fine-grained ripple cross-bedded sandstone (Sr) consists of very fine-grained sandstone or siltstone with ripple cross-bedded and laminated mudstone interbed [28, 30, 35], these lithofacies intervals are 0.2 to 1 m thick, forming fining-upward sedimentary sequences or no apparent changing in grain size, this facie typically distributes laterally and vertically into the finely laminated sediments of facies Sm, Sp, Fm or Fl; fine grained horizontally-bedded sandstone (Sh) consists of very fine grained, flat bedded and horizontally laminated [28, 30, 35], individual lithofacies intervals are 0.2 to 0.4 m thick, lower and upper contacts of this facies are sharp with facies Fm or Fl; laminated claystone with interbedded siltstone (Fl) consists of planar laminated clay-stone with interbedded siltstone, these lithofacies intervals are 0.1 to 1.1 m thick and deposited in the middle of sandstones intervals or the bottom of sedimentary sequence, the lower boundary is flat with facies Sr or sharp with facies Sm or Sp, this facie experienced low-intensity bioturbation; massive mudstone (Fm) consists of massive mudstone with weakly or poorly laminated [28, 30], these lithofacies intervals are 0.1 to 2.1 m thick, it experienced weakly bioturbation, the lower contact of this facies is erosional or sharp with facies Sp, Sr, Sm or St, the upper contact is usually erosional with St (Figure 6, Figure 7) [28, 30].

Figure 6 Sedimentary structures of K-Successions sandstones. (a, sharp contact relation; b, flaser-bedded; c, massive-bedded; d, parallel-bedded; e, ripple cross-bedded and parallel-bedded; f, wavy-bedded and flaser-bedded; g, lenticular-bedded; h, ripple cross-bedded; i, parallel-bedded; j, deformation structure; k, massive-bedded and trough cross-bedded; l, reverse graded-bedded and massive-bedded)
Figure 6

Sedimentary structures of K-Successions sandstones. (a, sharp contact relation; b, flaser-bedded; c, massive-bedded; d, parallel-bedded; e, ripple cross-bedded and parallel-bedded; f, wavy-bedded and flaser-bedded; g, lenticular-bedded; h, ripple cross-bedded; i, parallel-bedded; j, deformation structure; k, massive-bedded and trough cross-bedded; l, reverse graded-bedded and massive-bedded)

Figure 7 Lithofacies combination and sedimentary sequence of K-Successions sandstones. (Sm, fine-grained massive sandstone; St, fine-grained trough cross-bedded sandstone; Sp, fine-grained planar-bedded sandstone; Sr, fine-grained ripple cross-bedded sandstone; Sh, fine grained horizontally-bedded sandstone; Fl, laminated claystone with interbedded siltstone; Fm, massive mudstone)
Figure 7

Lithofacies combination and sedimentary sequence of K-Successions sandstones. (Sm, fine-grained massive sandstone; St, fine-grained trough cross-bedded sandstone; Sp, fine-grained planar-bedded sandstone; Sr, fine-grained ripple cross-bedded sandstone; Sh, fine grained horizontally-bedded sandstone; Fl, laminated claystone with interbedded siltstone; Fm, massive mudstone)

Sedimentary sequence characterised by different sedimentary structures, lithology, color features and paleontological features, reflecting sedimentary environment and sedimentary facies. Seven typical sedimentary sequences of sand bar, sand sheet and inter bar were identified in this research (Figure 7), these sequences consist of fine- to very fine-grained sandstone, siltstone and grey mudstone forming homogeneous intervals, heterogeneous intervals and fining-upward intervals and superposed to form sequences with the thickness of 12.8 m. Different lithofacies combination are also present in these sequences. Sequence 1, sequence 2, sequence 3 and sequence 6 display variational lithofacies and presenting sedimentary characteristics of sand bar, sand sheet and interbar facies, these sequences show strong heterogeneity, the facies between sand bar and sand sheet are separated by interbar (Figure 7). Sequence 4 and sequence 5 show homogeneous characteristics and sequence 7 forms fining-upward intervals (Figure 7). All these sequence assemblages constitute different sedimentary facies of K-Successions sandstones.

4.3 Seismic attributes and sand distribution

Seismic attribute analysis is an important tool to predict and solve the distribution of sandstones, especially in the less well area such as the south of H21 area of Huizhou Depression. Seismic attribute analysis is a relatively mature technique in reservoir exploration and development, which uses the statistical characteristics of kinematics and dynamics (amplitude, energy, frequency, phase and shape, etc.) of seismic waves to reflect the physical properties of rocks [36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41]. Through the extraction and analysis of different attributes of K-Successions sandstones in the study area, combined with the logging data, it is found that the Root Mean Square (RMS) amplitude attribute can better reflect the distribution of sandstone.

According to the formula of RMS amplitude, it is positively correlated with amplitude: ARMS=1/Ni=1NXi2,N: The number of sample points; Xi: The amplitude of i. The amplitude information is correlated with the reflection coefficient of the stratum, the relationship between amplitude and density is R=A1/A2=ρ2v2ρ1v1ρ2v2+ρ1v1,R: Reflection coefficient, ρ1: The upper density of the reflecting surface, ρ2: The lower density of the reflecting surface, v1: The upper speed of the reflecting surface, v2: The lower speed of the reflecting surface. According to the Gardner’s law: ρ = av0.25, ρ: Density, v: velocity, a: Constant, then, R=ρ25ρ15ρ25+ρ15, A1 is positively correlated with ρ2, it indicates that RMS amplitude is positively correlated with rock density, therefore, the density of rocks can be determined according to the amplitude, and then lithology can be distinguished [36, 37, 38, 40, 42].

The RMS amplitude property indicates the plane distribution of lithology, sedimentary facies of the sandstones and delineate the distribution of favorable sand bodies. On the RMS amplitude property graphs, blue-green represent weak amplitude, red and yellow represent strong amplitude, and sandstones represent medium to strong amplitude, medium to low frequency. The RMS amplitude property shows that NE-trending banded shelf sand ridges distribute at the southeast of H21 area of Huizhou Depression (Figure 8), the sand ridges deposits were influenced by delta sedimentary system of the northwest and Dongsha Uplift of the southeast, and formed by waves and currents, the size and geometry of sand ridges is different during different sedimentary stages.

Figure 8 Seismic attributes (Root mean square amplitude attribute) distribution. (a, the root mean square amplitude attribute of Stage 4 in Figure 11; b, a, the root mean square amplitude attribute of Stage 1 in Figure 11; c, a, the root mean square amplitude attribute of Stage 2 in Figure 11; d, a, the root mean square amplitude attribute of Stage 3 in Figure 11)
Figure 8

Seismic attributes (Root mean square amplitude attribute) distribution. (a, the root mean square amplitude attribute of Stage 4 in Figure 11; b, a, the root mean square amplitude attribute of Stage 1 in Figure 11; c, a, the root mean square amplitude attribute of Stage 2 in Figure 11; d, a, the root mean square amplitude attribute of Stage 3 in Figure 11)

The recognition and description of sand distribution have been always focused on to discover hydrocarbon reservoir. Guided by seismic sedimentology theory, combined with seismic attribute analysis technique, sedimentary features of K-Successions sandstone are interpreted in H21 area of Huizhou Depression [43, 44, 45]. The RMS amplitude was applied to analyze sandstones distribution, the prediction results are in good agreement with the sand distribution graphs using geostatistical tools with well data (Figure 9). On the RMS amplitude property graphs, the red and yellow represent the distribution of sand, blue and green represent the distribution of mudstone, sand is mainly characterized by strong amplitude. The northwest of H21 area developed delta system, as the sea level rising, delta front and distal delta front sand bodies were transformed by waves and currents, sand bodies gradually separated from the main part of delta front, the RMS graph reflects that the sand bodies distribute widely in middle and western area of the study area, sand ridges began to appear in the east (Figure 8 a), the size and thickness of sand body are small and the thickness of the main sand body is about 5 meters, the scale of sand ridges are about 10 kilometers long and 1-2 kilometers wide (Figure 9 A). Then, the sea level continues to rise until the maximum flooding surface, sand ridges have obvious morphology and large scale on RMS graph (Figure 8b and 8c), the thickness of the main sand body is more than 5 meters, the main parts of delta and sand ridges are greater than 10 meters, sand bars are 15-20 meters, the scale of sand ridges are larger, 10-20 kilometers long and 3-5 kilometers wide (Figure 9B and 9C). Then the sand ridges disappeared gradually, and connect with delta front gradually (Figure 8d, Figure 9D). The sedimentary microfacies and sand distribution were affected by sea level changing overall.

Figure 9 Sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Zhujiang Formation. (a, the sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Stage 4 in Fig 11; b, a, the sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Stage 1 in Figure 11; c, a, the sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Stage 2 in Figure 11; d, a, the sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Stage 3 in Figure 11)
Figure 9

Sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Zhujiang Formation. (a, the sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Stage 4 in Fig 11; b, a, the sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Stage 1 in Figure 11; c, a, the sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Stage 2 in Figure 11; d, a, the sand distribution of K-Successions sandstone of Stage 3 in Figure 11)

4.4 Facies analysis

Different lithofacies combination indicate different sedimentary environment, three sedimentary microfacies were identified according to the lithofacies, sedimentary structures and sequences: nearshore sand bar, sand sheet and interbar.

Sand bars are the most common microfacies recognised in the K-Successions sandstone. The sand bodies are lens-, tabular- or wedge-shaped, 1.2 to 6 m thick and laterally extensive for over 200 m[35]. Sand bar microfacies are also characterized by very fine- to fine-grained sandstone, moderate compositional maturity and moderate- to well sorted, with ripple cross-bedded, parallel-bedded, trough cross-bedded, low angle cross-bedded, reverse graded-bedded, massive-bedded and separated by thin layers of grey mudstone (Figure 7) [35]. They can form fining-upward or massive sequences and characterized by St, Sm and Sr facies from bottom to top, or Sm and Sp facies overlap vertically or overlain by Fl and Fm (Figure 7). Sand bar sediments distribute at the terminal of the delta front and are separated from the front, they are perpendicular to the delta front and display strong amplitude (the red and yellow represents the distribution of sand, Figure 8). These microfacies represent the deposits of delta front bed-form, which is modified by waves and currents. The cross-bedded sets likely indicate flow changes and the fining-upward cycle probably reflect a decrease in transport energy and the migration of a two-dimensional wave or current [46]. Parallel-bedded and massive-bedded thick sandstones are interpreted to represent high sedimentation fallout rates during the gap between the rise and fall of the waves [47]. Then, the lens-, tabular- or wedge-shaped geometry sandstone, sedimentary structures scale and sedimentary cycle are related to the transformation of delta front bedforms which benefited by continuous or intermittent waves and coastal currents [47, 48, 49].

Figure 10 Sedimentary model of K-Successions sandstone of Zhujiang Formation
Figure 10

Sedimentary model of K-Successions sandstone of Zhujiang Formation

Figure 11 Delta evolution of K-Successions sandstone of Zhujiang Formation. (Stage 1, the early stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1; Stage 2, the medium stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1; Stage 3, the end stage of transgressive systems tract; Stage 4, the stage of the highstand systems tract, A/S<1)
Figure 11

Delta evolution of K-Successions sandstone of Zhujiang Formation. (Stage 1, the early stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1; Stage 2, the medium stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1; Stage 3, the end stage of transgressive systems tract; Stage 4, the stage of the highstand systems tract, A/S<1)

Sand sheet microfacies are composed of lens- and tabular-shaped, very fine- to fine-grained sandstone or siltstone (0.2 to 1m thick) with wavy-bedded and ripple cross-bedded that are commonly with laminated mudstone interbeded. These elements often distributed at the top, bottom and lateral of sand bar or deposited in isolation, they also characterized by Sr, Sp and rare Sh facies with inconspicuous sedimentary cycle (Figure 7). Sand sheet display moderate amplitude (the yellow to light yellow represents the distribution of thin sandstone or siltstone, Figure 8). The thin, very fine-grained sandstones, sheet-like geometry, with the small-scale of sedimentary structures are interpreted as wave-influenced sand sheet deposits distributing the top or lateral of sand bar [10, 28, 50, 51], which accumulated at the edge of delta front. The genesis of sand sheet of K-Successions sandstone may be attributed to two processes: wave and coastal current, the large delta front bedform were transfer and reconstruct by these two processes, thin sheet-shaped deposits display as thin bedform and distribute at the edge of sand bar facies [35, 52].

Interbar microfacies consist of grey mudstone with lenticular-bedded, or interbeds of siltstone and very fine-grained sandstone with flaser-bedded, wavy-bedded and ripple cross-bedded. The lithofacies of interbar microfacies are consist of Fl, Fm and rare Sh with low-density bioturbation (Figure 7). Soft-sediment deformation structures occurred locally. The very fine grain size and extensive, sheet-like geometry sandstones indicate deposits over a wide area that are distal to the delta front or near prodelta [35, 53]. The thick, dark grey mudstone and the sedimentary structure indicate the suspension fallout under low-energy conditions and deposition in a relatively stable environment and between the sand bar-sheet bodies [54, 55, 56].

5 Discussion

The sand formation mechanism of nearshore sand barsheet system of K-Successions sandstones of Zhujiang Formation in the H21 area was related to the reconstruction of the abandoned delta front (Figure 9). The delta evolution was affected by sea level changes. The INPEFA (Integrated Prediction Error Filter Analysis), MESA(Maximum Entropy Spectral Analysis) and WT (wavelet transform) were used to analyze the sea level changes. It indicated that the study area experienced five sea level falling and four sea level rising stages within the K-Successions sequence of the Zhujiang Formation. A complete sea level rising and falling stage also can be divided into four stages according to transgression and regression and described by the ratio of accommodation and sediment supply rate (A/S): A/S>1, sedimentary process of delta front was mainly destroyed and transformed; A/S<1, the delta front sedimentary process was mainly constructive progradation. Detailed evolution process can be summarized as: the early stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1, sea level increasing, delta front sand was transformed by wave and coastal current, the protruding part of the front was constantly destroyed and replaced by sand ridges parallel to the coast, the sand ridges during this period was basically connected with delta front; the medium stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1, ratio increased greater, terrigenous sediments supply were confined to estuarie because of rising sea level and delta front was modified and transformed continuously by wave and coastal current. Because of the lower terrigenous sediments supply, the outward part cannot continue to develop, sand ridges began to separate from delta front, nearshore sand bar and sand sheet became independent sedimentary system (such as, Isle Dernière in the United States was transformed by wave from 1853 to 1978 and separated from the mainland gradually); Until the end stage of transgressive systems tract, it was a period before maximum flooding surface, ratio (A/S>1) decreased gradually, a large amount of sediments was confined near the mouth of the estuary at this point and the delta front retrograded to parallel to the shoreline, nearshore sand bar and sand sheet became independent sedimentary system completely and continued to be modified; the stage of the highstand, A/S<1, fluvial deposition displaced the marine deposition and became preponderant extrinsic dynamic effect, sediments carried by fluvial can be continuously transported to the basin, the area of the delta front was continuously expanded and the progradation occurred, the sand ridges that had been independent previously may be reconnected to the delta front, if sea level fall, the subaerial sediments will be eroded during this period, shallow water area was mainly non-deposition (modification or sediment passing by), normal regression became forced regression, delta front was forced to move forward [57, 58, 59, 60, 61].

6 Conclusion

  1. The K-Successions sandstones of the Zhujiang Formation (23.8-16.5 Ma) in H21 area of the Huizhou Depression are mainly consist of lithic arkose and arkose quartzite, with a small amount of lithic quartzarenite and feldapatic litharenite. Compositional and textural maturity is moderate.

  2. The sedimentary model was identified: nearshore sand bar-sheet system belonging to delta front reconstruction system in K-Successions of Zhujiang Formation in H21 area of Huizhou Depression, seven lithofacies, seven typical sedimentary sequences and three sedimentary microfacies were identified: nearshore sand bar, nearshore sand sheet and interbar, the sand ridges sourced from the associated deposition of delta front, which were modified and transformed by waves and coastal currents.

  3. The delta evolution was affected by sea level changes, it can be divided into four stages: the early stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1; the medium stage of the transgressive systems tract, A/S>1; the end stage of transgressive systems tract; the stage of the highstand systems tract, A/S<1.

Acknowledgement

We thank Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration Development of Shenzhen Branch for supplying research data. This paper is supported by the Major National Science and Technology Projects of China (No.2016ZX05027-001-006) and the Open-end Fund of Shandong Key Laboratory of Depositional Mineralization & Sedimentary Mineral, Shandong University of Science and Technology (DMSMX2019013).

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Received: 2019-03-25
Accepted: 2019-09-03
Published Online: 2019-12-31

© 2019 J. Zhang et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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