Distributive submarine fans contain channel-lobe elements that compensationally stack to build a radially dispersive map pattern. The middle parts of some submarine fans contain juxtapositions of channel elements and lobe elements due to longitudinal and lateral shifts in their channel-lobe transition zones. This article uses an exceptionally well-exposed three-dimensional outcrop of the Ross Sandstone at Bridges of Ross (Ireland) to document the stratigraphic and plan-view manifestation of lateral juxtapositions of channel elements and lobe elements in submarine fans. Observations made herein compare favorably to those in seafloor studies of Navy Submarine Fan (offshore southern California, USA) by William Normark and others, indicating that these systems can be used as paired outcrop-seafloor analogs for distributive fans in which the channel-lobe transition zones are located in longitudinally variable positions. In addition, data from Bridges of Ross and Navy Submarine Fan are integrated to constrain a geometric model that predicts the fractional length of a fan that contains lateral juxtapositions of channel elements and lobe elements. Lateral juxtapositions of channel elements and lobe elements are important because they enhance vertical and lateral connectivity within subsurface reservoirs.
- Received 13 February 2014.
- Revision received 18 July 2014.
- Accepted 4 September 2014.
- © 2014 Geological Society of America