Semester of Graduation

Fall 2017


Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



Although the general processes by which meandering river point bars are constructed have been known for some time, there is a lack of clarity regarding why small-scale heterogeneities develop. This is especially true in the largest meandering river systems, which are equivalent to some of the most important hydrocarbon reservoirs in the world. In this study, we evaluate the stratigraphic architecture of the 80 km2 False River Point Bar System on the Lower Mississippi River and use the knowledge gained to better comprehend point bar construction at different phases. Previous studies of small to medium-scale systems have been unable to predict the degree of lateral heterogeneity of larger systems— where data on a scale of 1 m to approximately 300 m is needed. Guided by a high resolution DEM, this study combines grain-size analysis, sediment coring, and electrical logging (gamma ray, hydraulic profiling, and electrical conductivity) at 19 sites (12 sites with sediment coring). Results show not only large-scale differences in lithology and permeability between these areas but also show differences on a finer scale within these locations. This is especially true at the Bueche property where an abandonment facies is observed. At the Woody property, where data was collected from closely spaced sites (approximately 30 m apart), data shows a rapid deterioration in permeability towards the youngest parts of the bar. The Roberts property channel fill location, which once connected the present oxbow lake to the Mississippi River, shows even more pronounced changes over 10’s of meters and generally poor reservoir characteristics. The False River system— and presumably other major river point bar deposits— show coherent differences across their width with a fining and reduction of reservoir quality going downstream and a sharp decrease immediately before the final abandonment of the channel.



Committee Chair

Clift, Peter

Available for download on Monday, November 12, 2018

Included in

Geology Commons