Evolution of drainage, sediment‐flux and fluvio‐deltaic sedimentary systems response in hanging wall depocentres in evolving non‐marine rift basins: Paleogene of Raoyang Sag, Bohai Bay Basin, China
H. Chen, X. Zhu, L.J. Wood and R. Shi
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 32, No 1, February 2020 pp. 116 - 145
Info: Article, PDF ( 6.4Mb )
The dynamics of sediment feeding into rift basins and the geomorphologic nature of source areas are critical elements in understanding the evolution of rifted basins. This study integrates seismic, well and geochronologic data on the western dipslope of the Raoyang Sag, a rift associated sub‐basin to the larger Bohai Bay Basin of China to define the history of drainage development for the basin and to assess the sedimentologic response to drainage evolution events. In the Paleogene‐age Lixian Slope, as indicated by paleo‐drainage configuration, progradational seismic geometries, compositional maturity and zircon‐tourmaline‐rutile maturity index trends, three drainages; the paleo‐Daqing River, paleo‐Tang River and paleo‐Dasha River drainages were feeding three closely spaced hanging wall deltaic depositional systems; Delta A fed from the northwest, Delta B fed from the west and Delta C fed from the southwest, respectively. From the late Eocene to early Oligocene, a decrease in sedimentflux into the hanging wall is documented and petrographic analysis is used to link these changes to stream‐capture in the upstream catchment of the Daqing River. This change is coupled with morphologic changes in the geometries of Deltas A and C, both of which show decreasing deltaic areas, changes in lobe geometry and changes in distributary channel sizes. In addition, the progradational direction of Delta C changes from perpendicular‐to‐the‐rift axis to prograding oblique‐to‐the‐rift axis. It is apparent that the progradation and retrogradational changes in rift margin deltas do not happen in isolation, but such changes can affect growth and progradation direction in adjacent deltas. This work shows that the decrease in sediment‐flux, caused by a drainage capture, will result in a decrease in distributary channel size and delta size and may result in upstream deltas taking advantage of such decreasing confinement to prograde more obliquely to the rift axis.