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Stratigraphy and sedimentary evolution of a modern macro-tidal incised valley: An analogue for reservoir facies and architecture

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Claire McGhee, Dr Sanem Acikalin Cartigny, Dr Cees van der Land



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 The Authors. Sedimentology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Association of Sedimentologists. Incised valley fills are complex as they correspond to multiple sea-level cycles which makes interpretation and correlation of stratigraphic surfaces fraught with uncertainty. Despite numerous studies of the stratigraphy of incised valley fills, few have focused on extensive core coverage linked to high fidelity dating in a macro-tidal, tide-dominated setting. For this study nineteen sediment cores were drilled through the Holocene succession of the macro-tidal Ravenglass Estuary in north-west England, UK. A facies and stratigraphic model of the Ravenglass incised valley complex was constructed, to understand the lateral and vertical stacking patterns relative to the sea-level changes. The Ravenglass Estuary formed in five main stages. First, incision by rivers (ca 11 500 to ca 10 500 yrs bp) cutting through the shelf during lowstand, which was a period of fluvial dominance. Secondly, a rapid transgression and landward migration of the shoreline (10 500 to 6000 yrs bp). Wave action was dominant, promoting spit formation. The third stage was a highstand at ca 6000 to ca 5000 yrs bp, creating maximum accommodation and the majority of backfilling. The spits narrowed the inlet and dampened wave action. The fourth stage was caused by a minor fall of sea level (ca 5000 to ca 226 yrs bp), which forced the system to shift basinward. The fifth and final stage (226 yrs bp to present) involved the backfilling of the River Irt, southward migration of the northerly (Drigg) spit and merging of the River Irt with the Rivers Esk and Mite. The final stage was synchronous with the development of the central basin. As an analogue for ancient and deeply buried sandstones, most of the estuarine sedimentation occurred after transgression, of which the coarsest and cleanest sands are found in the tidal inlet, on the foreshore and within in-channel tidal bars. The best-connected (up to 1 km) reservoir-equivalent sands belong to the more stable channels.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McGhee C, Muhammed D, Simon N, Acikalin S, Utley JEP, Griffiths J, Wooldridge L, Verhagen ITE, van der Land C, Worden RH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sedimentology

Year: 2021

Volume: 69

Issue: 2

Pages: 696-723

Print publication date: 01/02/2022

Online publication date: 26/07/2021

Acceptance date: 15/07/2021

Date deposited: 13/10/2021

ISSN (print): 0037-0746

ISSN (electronic): 1365-3091

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/sed.12922


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