T11 Theme 11: Applied sedimentology

T11-SS01 – Sedimentary evolution of estuaries and coastal plains: Subsidence, sediment loss and aquifer hazards

Conveners: Ruberti D. (Campania University, Italy), Cappucci S. (ENEA, Italy), Wang A. H. (Nanjing Center, China Geological Survey, China), Wang A. J. (Third Institute of Oceanography, China), Sacchi M. (CNR, Italy), Sztanó O. (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)

Estuaries and the related coastal plains are delicate sedimentary settings which evolve under the effect of different hydrodynamic ranges and sediment load from rivers, in turn controlled by relative sea level rise. The regime of accelerating sea-level rise forecasted by the IPCC suggests that many coastal plains and related marshes and/or tidal flats may soon cross a threshold and become threatened by geological hazards such as aquifer salinization, inundation of low lands, coastal erosion, increased vulnerability to flooding and storm surges. On the other hand, subsidence rates, which reflect regional and local tectonic effects, can be enhanced by consolidation of the Holocene sedimentary strata due to creep, thus resulting in an additional vertical movement at surface. Moreover, many coastal areas are also suffering from a sediment loss of billions m3/a due to anthropic extraction from river basins. The consequence of such a deficit in the sediment budget is the progressive destruction of salt marshes and tidal flats, coupled with coastal erosion. This session aims to explore the causes and consequences of coastal hazard, along with subsidence, coastal erosion and aquifer salinization, by taking into account the variety of independent drivers and focusing on the role of the hydrodynamics processes, the sedimentary architecture and the related geotechnical characteristics of estuarine and coastal settings. We encourage interdisciplinary studies addressing a wide range of spatial and temporal scales and applying state of the art methodologies.

T11-SS02 – From Holocene to Anthropocene: Human impact on sedimentary environment

Conveners: Cappucci S. (ENEA, Italy), Pascucci V. (University of Sassari, Italy)

Most of the modern sedimentary environments are influenced by human activities. Main effect of the human impact on these environments is that the natural behavior of sedimentary systems has been modified shifting them from depositional to erosive and vice-versa. Deforestation causes an enormous amount of available sediment that might be carried by rivers. However, most of them are dammed and solid transport reduced. On the shore, the presence of many ports interrupt the longshore transport and beaches are suffering of severe erosion instead of behave like regressive systems prograding seaward. A new concept of anthropogenic beaches and redefinition of their characteristics has been already discussed, but surely need a more deep investigation and discussion. Mitigation and adaptation to climate change will drive and influence the use of sedimentary resources for nourishment and coastal restoration. Industries, economic and population growth of developing countries will increase demand for sediment worldwide. We need to focus our attention also to the sustainable use of sedimentary resources in our economy and society. Sand is rare and has been included in the list of critical raw material by the European Union as the cost is still low, but the risk of supply can rapidly increase in some country. As one of the basic concepts of Stratigraphy is the principle of Actualism, which states that all past geological action was like all present geological action, we hope to involve in the discussion researchers dealing with human impact on sedimentary environment. Aim of the session is investigating the transition from Holocene to Anthropocene in several continental and marine environments checking if this principle of the Actualism could still be applied.

T11-SS03 – Reservoir systems: Subaerial and subaqueous processes, morphologies and significance for sediment distribution

Conveners: Lentsch N. (ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, USA), Fedele J. (ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, USA), Finotello A. (University of Padova, Italy)

Over the last century, progress driven by field, laboratory and theoretical investigations on physical processes involved in sediment dispersal in both subaerial and subaqueous environments, has proven crucial to advance understanding of fluid circulation and associated transport processes within buried reservoirs. Modelling and prediction of reservoir architecture and heterogeneities, the interpretation of associated sedimentological data, upscaling of analogies found in rock outcrop observations and the integration of geological and geophysical data for properly characterizing hydrocarbon or water reservoirs, are some of the major issues that bear a close link to sedimentological processes not fully described. For example, although long-established facies models still in use are necessary for modeling reservoir fluid flows (i.e., extraction, injection), they currently fail in describing the complexity of reservoir architecture observed in the stratigraphic record, presumably due to a lack of understanding of key sedimentological processes involved in reservoir deposition. This special session seeks to bring together those working on modern geomorphology and ancient preserved deposits (field), as well as those undertaking physical and numerical approaches in both subaerial (fluvial) and subaqueous (deep-water) sedimentology with an impact on fluid reservoir characterization. Insights gained from advancement in this field will not only enhance paleoenvironmental reconstructions, but also will enable the development of more sophisticated concepts and models of transport, deposition, architectures, and reservoir facies, ultimately impacting characterization of hydrocarbon systems, groundwater aquifers and beyond.

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