• Anh Le

Student thesis: Phd


The Kribi-Campo sub-basin is the northernmost of a series of Aptian basins along the coast of West Africa. These extensional basins developed as a result of the northward progressive rifting of South America from West Africa, initiated c. 130 Ma ago. Post-rift sediments of the Kribi-Campo sub -basin contain several regional unconformities and changes in basin-fill architecture that record regional tectonic events. The tectono-stratigraphic evolution and plumbing system has been investigated using a high-quality 3D seismic reflection dataset acquired to image the deep-water Cretaceous-to-Present-day post-rift sediments. The study area is located c. 40 km offshore Cameroon in 600 to 2000 m present-day water depth, with full 3D seismic coverage of 1500 km2, extending down to 6.5 seconds Two-Way Travel time. In the late Cretaceous the basin developed as a result of tectonism related to movement of the Kribi Fracture Zone (KFZ), which reactivated in the late Albian and early Senonian. This led to inversion of the early syn-rift section overlying the KFZ to the southeast. Two main fault-sets - N30 and N120 - developed in the center and south of the basin. These normal faults propagated from the syn-rift sequences: the N120 faults die out in the early post-rift sequence (Albian time) whilst N30 faults tend to be associated with the development of a number of fault-related folds in the late Cretaceous post-rift sequence, and have a significant control on later deposition. The basin is filled by Upper Cretaceous to Recent sediments that onlap the margin. Seismic facies analysis and correlation to analogue sections suggest the fill is predominantly fine-grained sediments. The interval also contains discrete large scale channels and fans whose location and geometry were controlled by the KFZ and fault-related folds. These are interpreted to contain coarser clastics. Subsequently, during the Cenozoic, the basin experienced several tectonic events caused by reactivation of the KFZ. During the Cenozoic, deposition was characterized by Mass Transport Complexes (MTCs), polygonal faulting, channels, fans and fan-lobes, and aggradational gullies. The main sediment feeder systems were, at various times, from the east, southeast and northeast. The plumbing system shows the effects of an interplay of stratigraphic and structural elements that control fluid flow in the subsurface. Evidence for effective fluid migration includes the occurrence of widespread gas-hydrate-related Bottom Simulating Reflections (BSRs) 104 - 250 m below the seabed (covering an area of c. 350 km2, in water depths of 940 m - 1750 m), pipes and pockmarks. Focused fluid flow pathways have been mapped and observed to root from two fan-lobe systems in the Mid-Miocene and Pliocene stratigraphic intervals. They terminate near, or on, the modern seafloor. It is interpreted that overpressure occurred following hydrocarbon generation, either sourced from biogenic degradation of shallow organic rich mudstone, or from effective migration from a thermally mature source rock at depth. This latter supports the possibility also of hydrocarbon charged reservoirs at depth. Theoretical thermal and pressure conditions for gas hydrate stability provide an opportunity to estimate the shallow geothermal gradient. Variations in the BSR indicate an active plumbing system and local thermal gradient anomalies are detected within gullies and along vertically stacked channels or pipes. The shallow subsurface thermal gradient is calculated to be 0.052 oC m-1. With future drilling planned in the basin, this study also documents potential drilling hazards in the form of shallow gas and possible remobilised sands linked with interconnected and steeply dipping sand bodies.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJonathan Redfern (Supervisor) & Mads Huuse (Supervisor)


  • Geothermal gradient
  • Bottom Simulating Reflection (BSR)
  • Gas hydrate
  • Sequence stratigraphy

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