Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Georgiou, Ioannis


Tide-influenced point bars represent a significant proportion of shallow-marine deposits, commonly developed along meandering channels in most backbarrier and estuarine systems. However, sedimentological studies to characterize this type of deposit are still emerging. They often present very heterogeneous internal architectures which development is controlled by the complex flow patterns operating in tidal environments. The study of the sedimentological and morphological characteristics of these features provides better understanding of the hydrodynamic processes that shape coastal systems and control their evolution as well as it contributes to better reservoir potential prediction and production strategy optimization, as tidal point bars may represent hydrocarbon reservoirs in subsurface and their heterogeneous characteristics directly impact reservoir quality. In this study, we investigated six modern tidal point bars located along distinct estuarine tidal channels in Georgia. Using core data, 2D shallow seismic data and current measurements and flow velocity profiles, we discussed the main hydrodynamic controls on sediment transport and distribution, and determined how they affect the morphology, the internal architecture and the sediment distribution within these bars. We confirmed that the influence of fluvial input in tidal channels plays an important role on the development of the morphology and the heterogeneous architecture of point bars as it adds more complexity to the system hydrodynamics, promoting more asymmetric variations in water level fluctuations and huge variations of current velocities. We proved that point bars developed in distinct tide-influenced channels and estuaries, although present very different sedimentary facies distribution, may have sedimentary facies in common, which organization is analogous to surface processes operating at each environment. We demonstrated that differences in tidal asymmetries between the ebb and flood channels produce sedimentological differences between the different parts of the bar. This study showed that tidal point bars present distinct heterogeneous sediment distributions, morphologies and internal architectures that do not conform to the existing theoretical models of fluvial point bars and highlighted that, despite the differences in local hydrodynamic conditions, similarities identified between the different bars permitted us to distinguish the sedimentological responses to regional allogenic events, which can be mistakenly interpreted as sedimentological responses to local autogenic events.


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Appendix I.pdf (77345 kB)
Core logs