Foraminiferal Biostratigraphy and Depositional Environment of the Early Cretaceous Drilled Succession in Durban Basin, East Coast, South Africa
Nsingi, Joseph Mayala
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Durban Basin located on the eastern coast of South Africa has been a focus of interest for Petroleum Exploration for the last few decades. Only four exploratory wells have been drilled in this offshore basin without success. During the initial stage of its creation, the basin suffered major tectonic disturbance as evident from the presence extensional faults followed by intense igneous activities. This was followed by marine sedimentation in the late Mesozoic (late Jurassic-early Cretaceous). An attempt has been made in this work to understand the distribution of the rock in space and time for the early Cretaceous sediments considered most prospective for hydrocarbon exploration in Southern Africa. Temporal distribution of planktonic foraminifera helps in identification of the three early Cretaceous (Barremian to Albian) stages within the drilled intervals. Foraminiferal biostratigraphic studies integrated with sedimentology, log motif analysis and seismic data analysis helps to predict paleodepth and depositional environment during early Cretaceous in this research. The integrated analysis reveals that during the Barremian-early Aptian stages graben filled sediments were deposited in a marine shelf in the northern part of the studied area (site Jc-D1) whereas, in the central and southern part finer clastics were deposited in middle slope (site Jc-B1 and Jc-C1). The thick claystone section and presence of minor limestone lenses and their benthic foraminifera assemblage in late Aptian-Albian stage in the northern area indicates possibility of submarine fan. Overlying succession dated between late Aptian to Albian and early part of Cenomanian interval in the three studied exploratory wells shows serrated log signatures. The dominant claystone lithology with intermittent siltstone/sandstone units and the benthic foraminifera indicates fluctuating distal marine slope environment with periodic shallowness in the entire area.