Much of the world's conventional and unconventional oil and gas production is from fluvial, deltaic and shallow marine clastic deposits that accumulated within foreland basin settings. The ability to accurately describe and predict the stratigraphic architecture that controls the behavior of fluids within these reservoirs greatly reduces risk in exploration and development decisions. This field seminar focuses on relevant, topical geological and engineering issues as expressed in world-class outcrop exposures of these reservoir types throughout Utah. The emphasis in this 7-day field seminar is on recognizing and learning how to predict facies and facies architecture (the geometry and spatial arrangement of sedimentary bodies) within a high-resolution, sequence stratigraphic framework. Participants will examine numerous outcrops along a proximal (west) to distal (east) transect that represent a variety of depositional environments deposited during low stand, transgressive, highstand, and late highstand (falling stage) phases of two third-order Cretaceous sequences: the Cenomanian-Turonian Greenhorn Sequence and the Turonian-Santonian Niobrara Sequence.
- examine and describe the facies and facies associations of gravelly braided river, meandering river, tidal channel, ebb-tidal delta, tidal flat, salt marsh, bay, estuarine, swamp, wave-modified shoreface, wave-modified delta front, fluvial-dominated delta front, distributary channel and mouth bar, offshore marine and prodelta deposits.
- examine and describe the important surfaces that bound these facies, facies associations and facies assemblages.
- define the criteria that can be used to recognize specific facies associations on wireline logs and in cores.
- examine, describe, and understand the factors controlling stratigraphic architecture.
- examine and describe the reservoir characteristics (flow units and heterogeneities) of these deposits.
- develop depositional models that can be used to predict these variations in the subsurface.
- examine core photos from wells drilled adjacent to the outcrop and analogous oil and gas fields, conduct core-to-log calibration and correlation exercises, and review techniques for integrating available data into a geological model, and discuss the uncertainties associated with building models.
This field seminar is a perfect follow-up course to the AAPG Modern Terrigenous Clastic Depositional Systems course. A remarkable comparison can be demonstrated between the modern South Carolina coastal plain and mid-Cretaceous sediments of southern and central Utah.
Outcrops visited are along the margins of the Kaiparowits, Paunsaugunt, Markagunt, Fish Lake, and Wasatch Plateaus, the Circle Cliffs Uplift, Waterpocket Fold, East Kaibab Monocline, and the Henry Mountains. The field seminar travels through spectacular natural scenery of the Colorado Plateau, including Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef National Parks, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and Glen Canyon National Recreational Area (Lake Powell).
Class size is kept small for mobility and to promote group and individual discussions with the instructor on the outcrop. A considerable amount of hiking is involved. Participants should be in good physical condition.