SLOPE Phase 5 is a 3-year research project to critically test the models developed in Phases 1-4 against key variables found in other basins, to measure the generic applicability of the Karoo analogues worldwide. These variables include a wider grain size range, up to gravel and cobble-filled channels; different tectonic settings/subsidence mechanisms/rates with combinations of active tectonics and residual structural topography; a wider range of flow processes, including systems dominated by supercritical flow and systems with a hyperpycnal river input; greenhouse climate settings (Karoo is icehouse-greenhouse transition) and wide palaeo-latitude settings. The project will also focus on systems of similar age to many active exploration areas.
Three principal outcrop study areas include the Tertiary succession on the margin of the Austral Basin, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the Cretaceous Rosario systems of Baja California, Mexico and the baseline control of the Karoo Basin, South Africa. Key work packages include (1) comparing mechanisms of delivery of sand over the shelf edge in different shelf types, capturing lateral variability in shelf edge character over tens of km. In the Karoo we have recently discovered a shelf edge canyon system cut into shelf edge deltas, while in the Mexico system canyons are cut into a fixed carbonate shelf edge; we will document and understand the differences in these delivery systems and the slope turbidites they supplied; (2) testing the architectural hierarchy of slope channel deposits in very different grain size systems; (3) building forward seismic models using outcrop geometries and realistic rock properties from exploration plays to test the levels of uncertainty in net:gross prediction at common seismic resolutions; (4) running palaeoclimate models to compare land precipitation levels and temperatures for appropriate palaeogeographic reconstructions to critically test source to sink parameters for the different study systems.