Geological Science and Engineering

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Robert W. Dalrymple,  P.Geo





Robert (Bob) Dalrymple is a clastic sedimentologist whose research is focused primarily on modern depositional systems and ancient rock successions in which tidal currents are an important agent of sediment transport and deposition.  This research ranges from detailed process-oriented studies to larger-scale work that explores how coastal and shelf systems respond to changes in relative sea level and climate.

Research Interests/Current Research

The majority of my research is directed toward understanding depositional processes in environments (both regressive deltas and transgressive estuaries) where tidal processes are an important agent of sediment deposition.  Such environments are complex, both morphologically and with regard to the way in which tidal, river and wave processes interact on time scale ranging from days to decades. A significant component of my recent work has been focused on the development of criteria for identifying the characteristic morphological elements within tidal systems (i.e., large dunes, tidal bars and channels) in ancient successions, and for determining where a given deposit formed in the transition zone between the mouth a river system and the landward limit of tidal action.  In this regard, the nature of the muddy laminae and interbeds has turned out to be an important environmental parameter.  In this regard, my students and I have spent considerable effort studying the origin and detailed characteristics of thick “mud drapes” formed by tidally and wave-generated fluid muds.  Additional research has also focused on sandy, open-coast tidal flats where wave processes dominate tidal currents.  Future research will continue to explore these themes, concentrating on an exploration of the tidal-fluvial and tidal-wave transitions.  I also plan to investigate the nature of sedimentation in mouth-bar and delta-front region of tide-influenced and tide-dominated deltas because this zone is poorly understood at present.

Supervising Information

The following students are conducting, or have recently completed, their theses under my supervision:

Daniel Canas (MSc; in progress): Sedimentology of the fluvial-tidal transition.

Bryce Jablonski (MSc; completed): Seasonal sedimentation in river-dominated giant point bars, McMurray Formation (Cretaceous), northern Alberta.

Colleen Kurcinka (MSc; completed): Sedimentology and depositional architecture of deltaic deposits in the Lajas Formation (Jurassic), Argentina.

Duncan Mackay (PhD; completed): Environmental interpretation of a tide-dominated deltaic and estuarine succession, Bluesky Formation (Cretaceous), central Alberta.

Kain Michaud (MSc; completed): Sedimentology of headland-attached tidal-current ridges in the Roda Formation (Eocene), northern Spain.

Geoff Reith (MSc; completed): Structures and fabrics within fluid-mud deposits in the Tilje Formation (Jurassic), offshore Norway.

Ted Matheson (MSc; completed): Carbonate sandbodies in the Mississippian succession, Alberta, and Ordovician of eastern Ontario, Quebec and New York.

Professional Associations

  • Association of Professional Geoscientists Ontario (APGO)
  • Canadian Sedimentology Research Group (CSRG)
  • Geological Association of Canada (GAC)
  • International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS)
  • SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Research)
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)


Books Written

  • Cummings, D.I., Dalrymple, R.W., Choi, K.S., and Jin, J.H., 2015, The Tide-Dominated Han River Delta, Korea: Geomorphology, Sedimentology, and Stratigraphic Architecture. Elsevier, Amsterdam, in press.

Recent Books Edited

  • Davis, R.A., Jr. and Dalrymple, R.W., eds., 2012, Principles of Tidal Sedimentology. New York, Springer, 607 p.
  • James, N.P. and Dalrymple, R.W., eds., 2010, Facies Models 4. Geological Association of Canada, 574 p.

Journal papers (last 6 years)

  • Gugliotta, M., Kurcinka, C.E., Dalrymple, R.W., Flint, S.S., and Hodgson, D.M., 2015, Decoupling seasonal fluctuations in fluvial discharge from the tidal signature in ancient deltaic deposits: an example from the Neuquén Basin, Argentina. Jour. Geol. Soc. London, v. 172, in press.
  • Jablonski, B.V.J., and Dalrymple, R.W., 2015, Recognition of strong seasonality and climatic cyclicity in an ancient, fluvially dominated, tidally influenced point bar: Middle McMurray Formation, Lower Steepbank River, northeastern Alberta, Canada. Sedimentology, v. 62, in press.
  • Matheson, E.J., Dalrymple, R.W., and James, N.P. 2015, Swell-dominated calcarenites on a Mississippian ramp in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Front Ranges. Jour. Sed. Res., v. 85, in press.
  • Zhang, X., Dalrymple, R.W., Yang, S.Y., Lin, C.M., and Wang, P., 2015, Provenance of Holocene sediments in the outer part of the Paleo-Qiantang River estuary, China. Marine Geology, v. 366, p. 1-15.
  • James, N.P., Seibel, M.J., Dalrymple, R.W., Besson, D., and Parize, O., 2014, Warm-temperate, marine, carbonate sedimentation in an Early Miocene, tide-influenced, incised valley; Provence, SE France. Sedimentology, v. 61, p. 497-534, doi: 10.1111/sed.12063.
  • Narbonne, G.M., Laflamme, M., Trusler, P.W., Dalrymple, R.W., and Greentree, C., 2014, Deep-water Ediacaran fossils from northwestern Canada: Taphonomy, ecology, and evolution. Journal of Paleontology, v. 88(2), p. 207-233.
  • Zhang, X., Lin, C.-M., Dalrymple, R.W., Gao, S. and Li, Y.L., 2014, Facies architecture and depositional model of a macrotidal incised-valley succession (Qiantang River estuary, eastern China), and differences from other macrotidal systems. Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., v. 126, p. 499-522.
  • Mason, S.J., Narbonne, G.M. and Dalrymple, R.W., 2013, Paleoenvironmental analysis of Ediacaran strata in the Catalina Dome, Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v.50, p.197-212.
  • Olariu, C., Steel, R.J., Dalrymple, R.W., and Gingras, M.K., 2012, Tidal dunes versus tidal bars: The sedimentological and architectural characteristics of compound dunes in a tidal seaway, the lower Baronia Sandstone (Lower Eocene), Ager Basin, Spain. Sedimentology, v. 59, p.
  • Beyer, S.R., Kyser, K., Hiatt, E.E., Dalrymple, R.W., and Pettman, C., 2011, Hydrogeology, sequence stratigraphy and diagenesis in the Paleoproterozoic western Thelon Basin: Influences on unconformity-related uranium mineralization.  Precambrian Research, v. 187, p. 293-312.
  • Mackay, D.A., and Dalrymple, R.W., 2011, Dynamic mud deposition in a tidal environment: the record of fluid-mud deposition in the Cretaceous Bluesky Formation, Alberta, Canada. Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 81, p. 901-920.
  • Olariu, M.I., Olariu, C., Steel, R.J., Dalrymple, R.W., and Martinius, A., 2011, Anatomy of a laterally migrating tidal bar in front of a delta system: Essolomada Member, Roda Formation, Graus-Tremp Basin, Spain. Sedimentology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3091.2011.01253.x.
  • Catuneanu, O., Bhattacharya, J.P., Blum, M.D, Dalrymple, R.W., Eriksson, P.G., Fielding, C.R., Fisher, W.L., Galloway, W.E., Gianolla, P., Gibling, M.R., Giles, K.A., Holbrook, J.M., Jordan, R., Kendall, C.G.St.C., Macurda, B., Martinsen, O.J., Miall, A.D., Nummedal, D., Posamentier, H.W., Pratt, B.R., Shanley, K.W., Steel, R.J., Strasser, A., and Tucker, M.E., 2010, Sequence stratigraphy: common ground after three decades of development. Leading Edge, v. 28, p. 21-34.

Papers and chapters in books (last 6 years)

  • Dalrymple, R.W., Kurcinka, C.E., Jablonski, B.V.J., Ichaso, A.A., and Mackay, D.A., 2015, Deciphering the relative importance of fluvial and tidal processes in the fluvial-marine transition, in Fluvial-Tidal Sedimentology, J. Best, P. Ashworth and D. Parsons, eds., Developments in Sedimentology, Elsevier, Amsterdam, in press.
  • Michaud, K.J., and Dalrymple, R.W., 2015, Facies, architecture and stratigraphic occurrence of headland-attached tidal sand ridges in the Roda Formation, northern Spain, in Contributions to Modern and Ancient Tidal Sedimentology, B. Tessier and J.-Y. Reynaud, eds. International Association of Sedimentologists Special Publication 48, in press.
  • Ichaso, A.A. and Dalrymple, R.W., 2014, Eustatic, tectonic and climatic controls on an early syn-rift mixed-energy delta, Tilje Formation, (Early Jurassic, Smørbukk Field, offshore mid-Norway, in From Depositional Systems to Sedimentary Successions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, A. W. Martinius, R. Ravnås, J. A. Howell, R. J. Steel, and J. P. Wonham, eds. International Association of Sedimentologists, Special Publication 46, p. 339-388.
  • Dalrymple, R.W., Mackay, D.A., Ichaso, A.A., and Choi, K.S., 2012, Processes, morphodynamics and facies of tide-dominated estuaries, in Principles of Tidal Sedimentology, R.A. Davis, Jr. and R.W. Dalrymple (eds.). Dordrecht, Springer, p. 79-107.
  • Reynaud, J.-Y., and Dalrymple, R.W., 2012, Shallow-marine tidal deposits, in Principles of Tidal Sedimentology, R.A. Davis, Jr. and R.W. Dalrymple (eds.). Dordrecht, Springer, p. 335-369.
  • Dalrymple, R.W., 2010, Interpreting sedimentary successions: Facies, facies analysis and facies models, in Facies Models 4. N.P. James and R.W. Dalrymple (eds.). St. John’s, Newfoundland, Geological Association of Canada, p. 3-18.
  • Dalrymple, R.W., 2010, Introduction to siliciclastic facies models, in Facies Models 4. N.P. James and R.W. Dalrymple eds.). St. John’s, Newfoundland, Geological Association of Canada, p. 59-72.
  • Dalrymple, R.W., 2010, Tidal depositional systems, in Facies Models 4. N.P. James and R.W. Dalrymple (eds.). St. John’s, Newfoundland, Geological Association of Canada, p.201-231.
  • James, N.P. and Dalrymple, R.W., 2010, Introduction to the volume, in Facies Models 4. N.P. James and R.W. Dalrymple (eds.). St. John’s, Newfoundland, Geological Association of Canada, p. 1-2.

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