Reconstructing long term sediment flux from the Brooks Range, Alaska using shelf edge clinoforms
Kaba, Christina Marie
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LocationBrooks Range, Alaska
Laterally extensive, well-developed clinoforms have been mapped in Early Cretaceous deposits located in the northeastern 27,000 km2 of the Colvile Basin, North Slope of Alaska. Using public domain 2-D seismic data, well logs, core photographs, and grain size data, depositional geometries within the Nanushuk and Torok formations were interpreted in order to constrain the transport conditions associated with progradation of the shoreline and construction of the continental margin out of detritus shed from the ancestral Brooks Range. Using STRATA, a synthetic stratigraphic modeling package, constructional clinoform geometries similar to those preserved in the North Slope clinoform volume (32,400 km3) were simulated. Sediment flux, marine and nonmarine diffusivities, and basin subsidence were systematically varied until a match was found for the foreset and topset slopes, as well as progradation rates over a 6 milion year period. The ability of STRATA to match the seismically interpreted geometries allows us to constrain measures of possible water and sediment discharges consistent with the observed development of the Early Cretaceous c1inoform suite. Simulations indicate that, in order to reproduce observed geometries and trends using constant input parameters, the subsidence rate must be very small, only a fraction of the most likely rate calculated from the seismic data. Constant sediment transport parameters can successfully describe the evolution of the prograding margin only in the absence of tectonic subsidence. However, further work is needed to constrain the absolute magnitude of these values and determine a unique solution for the NPR-A clinoforms.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution June 2004
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