Biography

I completed my B.Sc. degree in Geology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa in 2012, and attained my B.Sc. (Hons) and M.Sc. degree with distinction at Rhodes University, South Africa in 2015. My M.Sc. focussed on sedimentary and low-temperature geochemistry with emphasis on the stratigraphy, provenance, and alteration characteristics of the ferruginous shale formations that overly high-grade iron ores of the Transvaal Supergroup in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

In 2016 I took up the opportunity to join the Basin Dynamics Research Group at Keele University to work on facies distribution and cyclicity in aeolian systems with application to sandstone reservoirs. The project will incorporate extensive field work studies in the western interior of the United States, focussing on the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of the Glen Canyon Group.

Research and scholarship

Project:

Controls upon facies distribution and cyclicity in aeolian systems: implications for successful exploration and development in a mature North Sea basin

This project evaluates the interactions and controlling mechanisms affecting aeolian systems in Permian sandstones of the southern North Sea and in well-exposed analogue outcrops. It will elucidate the relative impacts of climate, tectonism and sediment supply on facies distributions and interactions at a variety of scales, and provide a 3D fluid-flow model pertinent to migration and reservoir evaluation.

Aeolian systems exhibit a range of geomorphologies each characterised by recognisable facies assemblages. The dominance and interplay of different geomorphologies is attributed primarily to sediment supply, a function, in part, of climate. It is generally accepted that deserts become ‘dryer’ towards the interior, with increased sediment supply that promotes a dominance of duneforms, and increases bedform scale and 3D complexity. Onto this distribution are superimposed the effects of climate. These patterns are recognisable in modern deserts, and many workers have observed similar patterns in ancient systems. However, preliminary studies of the aeolian Navajo Formation of the Paradox Basin, USA (present authors) have noted preservation of significant successions of anomalously ‘wetter’ sediments towards the basin interior: a direct contradiction to accepted patterns. Blakey (1994) suggests that renewed uplift of the Paradox Basin margin around Navajo times may have prompted local climatic changes. Consequently, the influences of local tectonics upon climate and sediment supply cannot be disregarded as factors governing the nature, accumulation and preservation of sediments. Others (e.g. Blair et al., 1988) have suggested that uplift of basin margins may cause an initial reduction in sediment to the basin as the transport pathway equilibrates, giving the impression of ‘wetter’ conditions, irrespective of climate. The controls remain equivocal, but it is evident that aeolian systems have the potential to preserve significantly anomalous sedimentary successions that seriously influence reservoir quality.

Land, J.S., Tsikos, H., Cousins, D., Luvizotto, G., Zack, T. (in-press). Origin of red beds and paleosols in the Palaeoproterozoic Transvaal and Olifansthoek Supergroups of South Africa: provenance versus metasomaticcontrols. Geological Journal. Wiley Online Library(wileyonlinelibrary.com). DOI: 10.1002/gj.2885.


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