Institutt for geovitenskap
Masterprosjekt - Energi / Miljø

Constraining delta-plain morphological/architectural elements in river- to tide-dominated deltas


Project description
River deltas are particularly important depositional environments as they are the sink along coasts for a large portion of the sediment derived from land to the sea. For this reason, deltaic deposits act as excellent reservoirs for hydrocarbon and/or water and they are suitable for storing CO2. Since the 1970s, modern river deltas have been classified based on their different morphology, which is controlled by the combination of river, tidal and wave processes acting in the basin. However, the morphological/architectural features of deltas have commonly been assessed only qualitatively, or quantified for a limited number of case studies (Fig. 1), while systematic quantitative data are still missing. 

The aim of this MSc project is to fill this gap in literature by providing a quantitative/qualitative analysis of morphological/architectural elements for a set of deltas. For simplification, the project will focus on deltas with varying degrees of river and tidal interactions (e.g. Wax Lake, Fraser, Mahakam, Fly), excluding deltas with relatively high wave energy. The study will be conducted using Geographical Information Systems (GIS). A set of 15–20 deltas will be selected and mapped based on satellite images (e.g. Sentinel), digital elevation models (e.g. SRTM) and bathymetric maps. The data produced will be combined with data from the literature, such as tidal ranges and river discharges, to conduct a statistical analysis and test the relationships between different morphological/architectural elements and other parameters. The ultimate goal would be to provide an improved classification for river- to tide-dominated deltas, with potentially at least 5 different classes identified. For each class, information about the typical morphological/architectural elements and basinal conditions will be provided.

The project will be conducted in collaboration with the University of Bremen, in Germany. This thesis provides an opportunity to work on a project that has a high level of international interest amongst sedimentologists and geomorphologists, both from the academic community and the industry. The student will learn a multidisciplinary approach to apply GIS and scientific computing to solve geomorphological and sedimentological questions. Opportunities exist to present and expand ones research network by working with a diverse group of individuals and expertise from UiB and the University of Bremen.

Proposed course plan during the master's degree (60 ECTS):
GEOV360 / Sedimentology and Facies Analysis – 10 ECTS
GEOV361 / Sequence Stratigraphy – 10 ECTS
GEOV352 / Field Course in Reservoir Geology – 5 ECTS 
GEOV362 / Integrated tectonics and sedimentology field course - 5 ECTS
GEOV301 / Geostatistics – 5 ECTS

The candidate should have an interest in geomorphology/sedimentology (coast, river deltas) and ideally have experience with GIS or be a technology-oriented individual.

Field- lab- og analysis
Work will mainly be conducted with remotely sensed data in combination with field analogues previously gathered within the group.