Deep-Water Siliciclastic Reservoirs, California

11-16 April 2014
Palo Alto, California, United States


Who Should Attend
Exploration and development geologists, geophysicists, log analysts, engineers, and managers working with deep-water reservoir systems in exploration and production settings. The field seminar will benefit all audiences, from experts to those unfamiliar with deep-water systems.

Upon completion of this field seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the spectrum of deep-water siliciclastic facies developed across the full range of deep-water environments, from upper slope to basin plain.
  • Understand the processes by which deep-water siliciclastic reservoirs are formed, and how to recognize them in core and in the field.
  • Appreciate the origins and nature of heterogeneity in deep-water reservoir facies.
  • Use deep-water facies in a predictive manner, while recognizing pitfalls and limitations.
Course Content

This six-day field seminar is designed to provide participants with an appreciation of the broad range of deep-water reservoir facies, the mechanisms by which they were deposited, their predictive attributes, their reservoir heterogeneity and their stratigraphic architecture. The field school emulates a voyage downslope in a deep-water sedimentary system, from submarine canyon head to mouth, to submarine fan valley, to outer fan, to basin plain, using many of the most outstanding deep-water facies outcrops California has to offer. The field seminar formed the basis for the AAPG Hedberg Conference in 2000.

The field seminar is designed to give participants an understanding of deep-water sedimentary processes and products, as well as a powerful visual impression of the scale and architecture of the full spectrum of deep-water deposits.

Field Seminar Location
Begins in Palo Alto and ends at the airport in San Francisco, California
Tentative Day-by-Day Schedule
Day 1, April 11 (Friday)

Assemble at the Sheraton in Palo Alto, California, by 6 p.m. Welcome and orientation dinner at 7:00 p.m. in the Poolside Grill in the Sheraton. Nights at the hotel are included in registration. Transportation from airport to the hotel is not included in the trip.

Day 2, April 12 (Saturday)

Morning: 7:30 A.M. Transportation provided from hotel to Stanford University. Introductory lecture: trip objectives and plan; basics of deep-water sedimentation; geology of California.

Lunch: Picnic lunch on Stanford campus (included) and brief campus tour.

Afternoon: Core workshop, applying lessons learned from morning lectures. Exercise #1: Predictions from core.

Dine locally (not included). Night at the Sheraton in Palo Alto (included).

Day’s objectives: To cover basic characteristics of deep-water facies, demonstrate their predictive attributes with respect to reservoir facies, bring all participant up to the same background level and prepare them for field trip stops, to provide background on California geology, and to apply lessons learned to core.

Day 3, April 13 (Sunday)

Morning: Check out of lodging. 7:30 A.M. Field trip to the Pigeon Point Formation, San Mateo County coast, to see the range of deep-water depositional products in situ.

Morning’s objectives: Using a range of outcrops, to review the basic lithofacies of deepwater deposits and their processes of sedimentation, demonstrate their predictive attributes with respect to reservoir facies, bring all participant up to the same level, and prepare them for the rest of the field trip stops.

Lunch: Picnic lunch on the San Mateo County coast (included).

Afternoon: 1 P.M.: Drive to Point Lobos State Preserve, near Carmel, CA. Multiple field trip stops in Point Lobos Preserve (head of submarine canyon). Drive to Monterey, CA. Dine locally (not included). Night at Casa Munras in Monterey (included).

Afternoon’s objective: To illustrate reservoir facies and heterogeneity associated with upper submarine canyon settings.

Day 4, April 14 (Monday)

Morning: Check out of lodging. 7:30 A.M.: Drive to Wagon Caves Rock, Los Padres National Forest. Field trip stop and EXERCISE #2 (channel correlations) at Wagon Caves Rock (channel complex in lower submarine canyon).

Morning’s objective: To illustrate reservoir facies and heterogeneity associated with lower submarine canyon settings. The exercise will involve correlating two stratigraphic sections separated by a distance comparable to two producing wells, but with the benefit of a photomosaic that permits explicit visualization of intervening heterogeneity.

Lunch: Picnic lunch (included) at Mission San Antonio de Padua (the only Spanish mission in California looking as it did in 1780 and not surrounded by a city/town).

Afternoon: 1:00 P.M. Drive to field trip stop at Juniper Ridge (major fan channel complex), west of Coalinga, CA. EXERCISE #3 (channel correlations). Drive to Harris Ranch Inn. Dinner at Harris Ranch (not included). Night at Harris Ranch Inn (included).

Afternoon’s objectives: To illustrate the complexities of a major submarine fan channel complex, as well as relations between channel and levee facies. The exercise emphasizes the challenges of reservoir heterogeneity predictions in a major channel environment.

Day 5, April 15 (Tuesday)

Morning: Check out of lodging. 9:00 A.M. Drive north toward Sacramento basin. Optional stop possible at San Luis Reservoir Dam (major fan channel complex).

Lunch en route, location TBA (included).

Afternoon: Field trip stop at Monticello Dam on Lake Berryessa, west of Davis, CA, to see the fill of a major submarine valley. EXERCISE #4 (correlation to core). Drive to Davis, CA. Dinner in Davis, CA (not included). Night at the Hallmark Inn in Davis, CA (included).

Afternoon’s objectives: To examine the sand-rich fill of a major submarine fan valley in outcrop to gain an appreciation of the dimensions and lateral relations in large-scale confined systems analogous to those encountered in offshore west Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. The discussion will include issues of confined versus unconfined flows and recognizing the internal architecture of the fill of large slope valleys. This outcrop will also be related to the core examined in the first exercise of the field course, affording the opportunity to compare inferences drawn from core against what is explicitly known from outcrop.

Day 6, April 16 (Wednesday)

Morning: Check out of lodging. 8:30 A.M. Field trip to Cache Creek, about 1.5 hour’s drive northwest of Davis to see depositional lobe deposits and to nearby Bear Creek to see basin plain deposits.

Morning’s objectives: To see the relatively sheet like facies associated with channel mouth and frontal splay to distal lobe environments.

Lunch: Picnic in Yolo County Park along Cache Creek. Field course wrap-up.

Afternoon: Drive from lunch stop to San Francisco airport, arriving in late afternoon (no later than 4 p.m.). End of field course.

Passport and Visa Information

Foreign participants should check to see if they require visas for the U.S. Important note to all participants: You must carry proper identification (US citizens: driver’s license or passport; foreign participants: passport with valid visa) when we cross a US Army base on Monday, April 1.

Items Included in the Field Trip Fee

Dinner on Friday, 4/11; lodging five nights (4/11 thru 4/15); lunches and drinks in the field each day (we urge anyone with special dietary needs to contact the trip leaders in advance by filling out attached form); ground transportation throughout the trip; field conference guidebook and exercise materials; hard-hats and safety vests.

Items Not Included

Airfare to San Francisco; transportation from San Francisco airport to the Sheraton in Palo Alto; all breakfasts (although continental breakfasts are complimentary at some lodging) and most dinners; lodging in the San Francisco area on the night of Wednesday, April 23, for anyone staying after the trip ends that afternoon.

We have made hotel reservations for you for the nights of April 11 through April 15. Please do not attempt to make reservations for yourself for these dates, as it will cause needless complications. All participant rooms are single occupancy (unless you request us for other arrangements). Remember that your rooms are included in your registration fee, you will not be paying for your room during the trip, just for incidentals.

Hotel Itinerary
April 11 and 12

Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel
625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

April 13

Casa Munras Hotel
700 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA 93940

April 14

Harris Ranch
24505 West Dorris Ave, Coalinga, Ca 93210

April 15

Hallmark Inn
Davis, CA

Weather Conditions, Level of Physical Rigor, Clothing Suggestions, and Safety Considerations

Safety is a foremost concern. Safety considerations for each day will be reviewed every morning of the trip, as well as at each outcrop. This field seminar mostly will visit easily accessible roadcuts and coastal outcrops. However, three hikes included in the program make this a trip of at least moderate physical difficulty. The visit to Wagon Caves Rock on Monday entails a hike of about 2 km on a trail over uneven ground, as well as an optional climb up a rocky slope of about 50 meters elevation gain. Examination of the Juniper Ridge Conglomerate on Monday afternoon entails a somewhat shorter hike with a similar elevation gain. Work along Cache Creek on Wednesday morning entails a kilometer hike along a rocky creek bank.

Safety considerations include hiking on uneven and locally steep ground, slippery rocks on creek banks and intertidal exposures, falling rocks from roadcuts and natural cliff exposures, traffic near roadcuts, and normal hazards of highway driving. Poison oak, a plant that causes an allergic rash in some people, occurs along some trails, but can be avoided.

Rain is unlikely in April, but temperatures and conditions could range from rather cool, breezy and foggy (ca. 15 degrees C) along the coast to very warm (ca. 28 degrees C) inland. Therefore, it is best to come prepared to dress in layers. Bring a jacket to block coastal winds. No special equipment is needed beyond normal field clothing and footwear. With regard to the latter, we recommend at least light field boots for good ankle support on the longer hikes. Although warm weather invites short pants, brushy conditions and poison oak in some localities make long pants a better choice. A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses will be important for many participants. A camera is recommended.

We will bring hard-hats, safety vests, a well-stocked first aid kit, a satellite phone, and plenty of fluids for hydration. Lunches are provided.

Airport and First Night Information

The San Francisco area is a wonderful tourist destination, and some participants may elect to arrive prior to the field seminar or stay afterwards for tourism. Participants who plan to do this are responsible for those arrangements.

You are responsible (at your own expense) for getting from to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to the starting point for the field seminar, the Sheraton Hotel in Palo Alto, CA. The most expedient, but most costly, way is by taxi; this will cost around $80. There is a commuter train (CalTrain) between San Francisco and San Jose that has a connection at the airport and a station in Palo Alto (University Station). The hotel is one block from the train station. Limousine service is also available at the airport. We recommend that you visit the SFO website to investigate options (

At the end of the field seminar, participants will be return April 16. Meeting evening flights will pose no problems, but it would be risky to schedule a flight before 6 p.m. Anyone catching a flight on the following day (April 17) should make and pay for his/her own hotel reservations in the SFO area.

Expires on
13 March, 2014
Early Tuition
20 people

Includes lodging, transportation during the seminar, lunches, guidebook and group dinner (1 night).
No refunds for cancellations after 14 March 2014.


Donald R. Donald R. Lowe Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
Stephan Stephan Graham Stanford University, Stanford, California
Vicky Kroh Registrar +1 918 560-2650
Debbi Debbi Boonstra Education Coordinator +1 918 560-2630

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