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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 86, No. 7 (July 2002),Copyright ©2002. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

Architecture and sequence stratigraphy of Pleistocene fluvial systems in the Malay Basin, based on seismic time-slice analysis

Andrew D. Miall1

1Department of Geology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3B1, Canada; email: [email protected]


Andrew Miall has been a professor of geology at the University of Toronto since 1979. Before then he worked in the oil industry and for the Geological Survey of Canada in Calgary for ten years. He is a specialist in the study of fluvial sediments and sequence stratigraphy and is the author of three books, including Principles of Sedimentary Basin Analysis.


Thanks to Carl Lothringer for the introduction to Unocal Thailand and their offshore seismic program. Unocal, PTTEP, and MOECO are acknowledged for contributing the seismic data. Thanks are due to Kevin Doyle for facilitating the project and providing useful comments on early drafts of the manuscript and to T. Elliott for assistance with seismic interpretations.


The Malay Basin is underlain by a productive, gas-prone, nonmarine Cenozoic section. Exploitation of the gas reserves is largely based on three-dimensional (3-D) seismic surveys, which have also gen erated much data from the nonproductive, near-subsea Pleistocene section. Seven seismic time-slice images at 12 ms two-way travel time (TWTT) spacings that document the 29-86 m sub-sea-floor section of this Pleistocene succession in the northern Malay Basin are analyzed here. These images reveal at least five types of fluvial systems of widely varying style and cross section dimensions, rang ing from braided systems with channel-belt widths of more than 4 km to small-scale meandering systems with meander-belt widths of a few hundred meters. An incised-valley system estimated to be 40 m deep is intersected by five of the images and forms the basis for an interpretation of one of two sequence boundaries revealed by this data set. The wide variation in channel style and scale in the project area contrasts with the rather uniform fluvial styles that are assumed in many production models for nonmarine oil and gas fields and should serve as a warning against making simplistic as sumptions about the consistency of these parameters during archi tectural and reservoir modeling and paleohydraulic reconstruction.

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