Advances in Earth Science ›› 2020, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (6): 632-642. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2020.047

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A Brief Introduction to Deep-Water Mass-Transport Complexes: Structures, Genetic Classifications and Identification Methods

Lei Qin 1, 2( ),Jinxin Mao 1, 2,Fengling Ni 1, 2, 3,Shaohua Xu 1, 2( ),Xiaogang Li 1, 2,Change Cai 1, 2,Wenliang Shang 1, 2,Jiakai Liu 1, 2   

  1. 1.Chongqing Key Laboratory of Complex Oil and Gas Exploration and Development, Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing 401331, China
    2.School of Petroleum Engineering, Chongqing University of Science Technology, Chongqing 401331, China
    3.China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation Jianghan Oilfield Branch, Qianjiang Hubei 430050, China
  • Received:2020-03-11 Revised:2020-05-08 Online:2020-06-10 Published:2020-07-06
  • Contact: Shaohua Xu;
  • About author:Qin Lei (1995-), male, Chongqing City, Master student. Research areas include oil and gas exploration geological engineering. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China “Control of stratigraphic patterns by lateral difference of sediment rate in the shelf margin delta system-a case study from SQ13.8 in the Pearl River Mouth Basin”(41902114);The Chongqing University of Science and Technology College Students Science and Technology Innovation Training Program “Critical conditions and control factors of seismic response in the domain of falling stage systems tract”(YKJCX1920113)

Lei Qin,Jinxin Mao,Fengling Ni,Shaohua Xu,Xiaogang Li,Change Cai,Wenliang Shang,Jiakai Liu. A Brief Introduction to Deep-Water Mass-Transport Complexes: Structures, Genetic Classifications and Identification Methods[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2020, 35(6): 632-642.

Mass-Transport Complexes (MTCs) are important components of deep-water systems, and widely distributed in continental margins and lake basins. Understanding MTCs is helpful for expanding the targets of deep-water hydrocarbon exploration and for evaluating geological risks of subsea engineering. Typical MTCs consist of three parts: the head tension area, body slip area, and toe compression area. During the transportation of MTCs, these three domains come into being successively. MTCs can be classified into three types: slide rock, slump rock, and debris rock, based on the sediment transport process and fluid properties, and they respectively correspond to elastic deformation, elastic and plastic deformation and plastic deformation stages. In 3D seismic plan, according to the direction of sediment flow (the slope direction), some depositional elements of MTCs, such as head cliffs, body folds, and toe squeeze ridges, can be clearly identified in proper order, and in seismic profiles MTCs are characterized by weak-medium amplitude reflections, mound-like shapes, and irregular top/bottom interfaces. In conventional log data, MTCs are commonly responded as abrupt shifts at their top/bottom interfaces. In outcrop data, MTCs have several kinds of sedimentary structures, such as massive textures, sliding folds, and mud lumps. Compared with turbidites, MTCs have many distinct characteristics. For example, MTCs are deposited from sediments transported through a "frozen" manner and have an "elongate-fan-like" slope morphology, a relative large thickness. Furthermore, MTCs can be characterized by no obvious features of grading differentiation and relatively large stratigraphic dips.

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