Spring 2020 CSS Research Update Blog Post

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

Starting in June 2020, we will be uploading a series of presentations by the principal investigators and student/post-doc team members that can be viewed on (or downloaded from) the main part of our website available to sponsors. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, here's a brief update of each of the team member's research activities over the past several months (listed alphabetically by last name). 

DAN BELL (Post-doctoral fellow, University of Calgary)

Dan is a new post-doc on the team, and the focus of his first field season was assessing longitudinal variability in channel-fill architecture in the Tres Pasos Formation at the ~7 km long dip-oriented Alvarez Ridge outcrop. The primary objective of this work is to document the stratigraphic expression of intra-channel-fill architecture with wavelengths of 10’s – 100’s m and evidence for upstream migration. A key question is to consider how these relate to similar features observed on the modern seafloor (e.g., cyclic steps and knickpoints). Dan also spent time in the field beginning detailed characterization of the shelf-to-slope transition of the coarse-grained Puma channel-system. This initiative will investigate a primarily dip-oriented section to better understand how sediment bypass manifests itself from the shelf to the slope, the stratigraphic expression of this relationship, and the implications for the nature of updip pinchouts of slope channel reservoir plays.

Detailed characterization of intra-channel-fill features.

REBECCA ENGLERT (Ph.D. student, University of Calgary)

Rebecca’s fieldwork this season focused on two main areas. Firstly, she continued work on the ponded, intraslope minibasin deposit exposed at the top of El Chingue Bluff, which included measuring section and examining bed correlations/terminations in order to capture bed-scale variations along the oblique depositional dip-oriented outcrop. These data will be used to investigate flow processes and interactions with synsedimentary faults that lead to the accumulation. Secondly, Rebecca documented detailed sedimentological features of intriguing backset sandstone lenses within deltaic slope deposits exposed on Cerro Cazador. Preliminary results indicate that these deposits are concentrated on discrete surfaces within the succession and may be related to upslope-migrating bedforms observed on many modern prodeltas.

Investigation of traction-structure-dominated sandstone bodies within prodeltaic/slope strata.

SOPHIE HAGE (Post-doctoral fellow, University of Calgary)

Sophie is a new post-doc on the team and is leading a project focused on tracking organic carbon transport and burial in deltaic and slope turbidite systems. Understanding the distribution and preservation of terrestrial organic carbon in marine sediments is key for refining models of biogeochemical cycling, improved characterization of petroleum resources, and reconstruction of past environmental changes. This project will characterize in detail the composition, amount, and stratigraphic distribution of organic carbon buried in Late Cretaceous sediment to test the preservation potential of organic carbon over geological timescales. Sophie focused her field work this season on the description and high-resolution sampling of a 400 m-thick section at Cerro Cazador, spanning upper slope to deltaic topset facies of the Tres Pasos and Dorotea Formations. Preliminary observations reveal an abundance of woody/leafy debris within sandstones, implying a major terrestrial source of the particulate organic matter. Sophie will now focus her efforts in the laboratory, conducting of total organic carbon content, carbon isotopes, organic-matter composition, and more.

Systematic sampling of deposits to study the abundance and characteristics of terrestrial organic matter.

SEBASTIAN KAEMPFE (Ph.D. student, Virginia Tech)

This field season, Sebastian finalized the outcrop data set for a project he’s spearheading at El Chingue Bluff focused on the sedimentologic and stratigraphic expression of a significant transition in the Magallanes Basin history — from thin-bedded, fine-grained distal levee deposits of the Cerro Toro Formation to the mass transport deposits and intra-slope turbidite fan deposits of the overlying Tres Pasos Formation. In addition to the depositional history, Sebastian is investigating the nature and timing of syn-sedimentary faulting and sand injectites in this interval. Sebastian also collected additional samples for detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology at Monte Rotundo, to the south of the primary outcrop belt, which will be used to constrain the timing of along-strike sediment input into the basin at exploration scales.