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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 86, No. 10 (October 2002),Copyright ©2002. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

Tectonostratigraphy of the Nieuwerkerk Formation (Delfland subgroup), West Netherlands Basin

Bryan DeVault,1 Jason Jeremiah2

1Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), 9400 HH Assen, Netherlands; current address: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, P.O. Box 1330, Houston, Texas 77251; email: [email protected]
2Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), 9400 HH Assen, Netherlands; email: [email protected]


Bryan DeVault received B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Houston in 1990 and a Ph.D. in geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines in 1998. He was an exploration geologist/geophysicist for Shell International from 1998 to 2001, where he was posted to Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) Assen. He is presently senior exploration geophysicist at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in Houston. His professional interests include prospect generation, sequence stratigraphy, amplitude vs. offset (AVO) analysis, and the detection of fractures using seismic data. He is an active member of AAPG and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

Jason Jeremiah was employed by Shell UK during 1992-1997 as a stratigrapher and 1997-1999 as an exploration geologist, where he reviewed Jurassic and Cretaceous prospectivity of the United Kingdom Central Graben. Since 1999 he has worked with the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), specializing in reservoir modeling, sedimentology, and seismic stratigraphy. He is a stratigrapher by training, having received an M.Sc. degree in micropaleontology from University College London in 1988.


Various colleagues in Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) together with John Marshall (Shell International Exploration and Production) and Tim Cross (Colorado School of Mines/Platte River Associates) are thanked for fruitful discussions on the Early Cretaceous of the West Netherlands Basin. We also would like to thank Stan Duxbury for providing the palynological data to enable a time-constrained sequence stratigraphical subdivision to be collated and Tim Pearce for the chemostratigraphical data. Kees van Slochteren, Henk Geertsma, and Rudy van der Heide are also thanked for the excellent drafting support, and Stuart Lake for encouraging publication of these results.


The Nieuwerkerk Formation is a major Lower Cretaceous synrift and postrift fluvial unit in the West Netherlands Basin (southwest Netherlands) that attains thicknesses in excess of 1 km in places. A strong tectonic overprint on its deposition and a large degree of facies heterogeneity have complicated correlation and greatly hampered understanding reservoir and seal distribution within the unit. The integrated application of fluvial sequence stratigraphic concepts with biostratigraphic dating and the correlation of cycles of changing accommodation to sediment supply ratio (A/S cycles) on three-dimensional (3-D) seismic, well-log, and core data have allowed a much improved understanding of reservoir facies distribution within the Nieuwerkerk Formation.

A major intraformational unconformity divides the Nieuwerkerk Formation into two members. The lower of these, the Alblasserdam Member, is predominantly nonmarine and has a significant tectonic depositional overprint. Correlation within this member is dependent on the identification of base-level transit cycles probably induced by pulses of tectonism. The inclusion of 3-D seismic isopach data facilitates mapping thicknesses and reservoir properties of the Alblasserdam Member in areas with no well control. The upper member, the Rodenrijs Claystone Member, was deposited during the postrift stage and is predominantly a coastal-plain succession. Biostratigraphic correlation proved useful in subdividing this unit and correlating key seismostratigraphic markers. Use of biostratigraphic and cyclostratigraphic correlation techniques allowed chronostratigraphically consistent reservoir maps to be made of the constituent members of the Nieuwerkerk Formation. These maps exhibit localized nonmarine syndepositional basins (Alblasserdam Member sand depocenters), followed by gradual southward, landward stepping of facies tracts of the Rodenrijs Claystone Member above the intraformational unconformity. The Rodenrijs Claystone Member is capped by a marine transgression that terminated fluvial deposition in this part of the basin. Interestingly, no major lacustrine facies have been identified in the fluvial units in the West Netherlands Basin, rendering it somewhat anomalous among rift basins.

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