Clastic Reservoir Facies and Sequence Stratigraphic Analysis of Alluvial-Plain, Shoreface, Deltaic, and Shelf Depositional Systems

3-9 May 2014
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States


Who Should Attend
This field seminar is designed for geologists, particularly those interested in clastic stratigraphy, facies interpretation, and sequence stratigraphic analysis at the level of parasequences. Geophysicists and reservoir engineers with strong geological backgrounds who are interested in facies architectures at interwell and field scales are also encouraged to attend.

Geoscientists who complete the field seminar should find themselves better able to:

  • Distinguish a wide variety of fluvial-deltaic facies in outcrop, core and on wireline logs.
  • Recognize typical facies and successions.
  • Pick the discontinuities that constitute flooding surfaces in shallow- and marginal-marine settings and thereby
  • Define parasequences and, where appropriate, parasequence sets.

The emphasis in this 7-day field seminar is on tracking parasequences laterally, most commonly by walking them out over distances of up to several miles. By doing so, participants will acquire a better understanding of the architecture and interrelationships between facies. Participants will also gain an appreciation of the relative importance of eustatic sea-level fluctuations and basin tectonics on large-scale transgressive-regressive cyclicity in foreland basin settings.

Course Content

Facies examined during the Clastic Reservoir Facies Field Seminar include: channelbelt, alluvial valley fill, shoreface, wave- and river-dominated deltas, distributary channel and mouth bar, tidal inlet and tidal channel, transgressive lag, and shelf sand. Outcrops visited are in the Book Cliffs, Castle Valley, the Henry Mountains Basin, and the Kaiparowits and Markagunt Plateaus.

The seminar focuses on the lithologic variations that characterize clastic reservoir facies and on development of models that can be used to predict these variations in the subsurface. Participants will learn about clastic reservoir facies through a series of case studies. Case studies initially focus on the vertical facies successions that characterize particular paleoenvironments and the criteria that can be used to recognize them on wireline logs and in cores. The main emphasis of the case studies, however, is on lateral relationships. The scales of lateral variations examined range from reservoir heterogeneities at inter-well spacing up to the more regional facies variations that are the basis for exploration models.

Lateral relationships that characterize clastic reservoir facies are demonstrated by walking representative units out in areas of continuous exposure. To cite one example: on outcrops of the Ferron Sandstone, participants examine the sandstone grain size and the sedimentary and biogenic structures that occur at the landward edge of a sandstone body that accumulated on a prograding shoreface. They then walk across the landward pinch-out of the sandstone body into deposits of the lagoon and swamp that lay behind the shoreline. Sections from the outcrops and from a large number of nearby drillholes reveal the facies relationships. The emphasis in this field seminar is on practical applications: if, for instance, a discovery well penetrated a hydrocarbon bearing shoreface unit consisting of 8 m of upper shoreface and foreshore strata lying directly on a marine flooding surface, what is the likelihood that an appraisal well drilled one km landward would also encounter shoreface strata, rather than non-reservoir lagoonal beds? The Ferron example mentioned above serves as an analog and provides an answer.

Larger-scale variations are examined by driving between localities. By this means, architectures of river-dominated deltas and of the channel belts that fed them are demonstrated in the Ferron Sandstone in Castle Valley. The effects of subsidence patterns on the architectures of channel belts and shoreline sandstone bodies of the Dakota Sandstone are examined in the Henry Mountains Basin and on the margins of Kaiparowits Plateau.

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.

The field trip route passes through Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which contain some of the most beautiful country in the Colorado Plateau region.

Field Seminar Location
Begins and ends in Salt Lake City, Utah. The field trip route passes through Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which contain some of the most beautiful country in the Colorado Plateau region.

All participants are to arrive in Salt Lake City by early Saturday afternoon, May 3, so we can travel to Bryce Canyon by Saturday evening (approximately 4 hour drive).  The participants will be able to arrange for return flights on Friday afternoon, May 9 or evening, instead of Saturday, May 10. In this way they can be home for Mother’s Day weekend. 

Tentative Lodging Itinerary
  • Saturday, May 3 - Depart SLC airport by 2:00 P.M.
  • Saturday night – Bryce Canyon Ruby’s Inn
  • Sunday night – Prospector Inn, Escalante, Utah
  • Monday and Tuesday – Rim Rock Inn or Capitol Reef Best Western – Torrey, Utah
  • Wednesday and Thrusday – Castle Valley Outdoors, Emery, Utah
  • Friday – return to SLC airport by 4:00 P.M.

The instructor will need to know if there are any dietary restrictions and/or health issues (e.g., diabetes, heart, etc.). 

Field trip – What to Bring List

We'll be in a high desert most of the time. Morning and evening temperatures can be cold (below freezing) and daytime temperatures can reach into the 80s F (25 - 30 C). Be prepared for hot and sunny and/or cold and rainy or snow. Early May is usually too early for biting insects, but it is possible. This isn’t an Outward Bound school, but we will be walking 5-10 miles a day over uneven terrain, so wear comfortable shoes. Don't buy new shoes. Wear running shoes if you don't have boots. If you do not work out or walk/run on a regular basis, please consider starting to walk 8 to 10 km, three times a week.  In the past, folks have mentioned that they would have enjoyed the field seminar a little more if they were in better shape. Our vehicles will never be more than 1 hour from emergency medical assistance, but we might be an hour or two from the vehicles. I carry a large first aid kit and can use it. Please let me know if any of you are first aid certified.

  • Try to fit everything in carry-on or soft luggage like a duffel bag.
  • If you pack your stuff  in carry-on luggage, remember to not bring pocket knife, shaving cream, or liquids in containers greater than 3 oz.
  • If you check luggage you can check anything, even a rock hammer and pocket knife.
  • 7 days of underwear
  • 3-4 pair of wool socks or hiking socks
  • loose long pants or combo short/long pants with legging that zips out
  • shorts
  • t-shirts
  • polypro long sleeve shirt
  • pile jacket or some other jacket for warmth – we can eat outside at restaurants but it gets chilly (cold)
  • rain jacket
  • Very casual evening attire (clean pants and shirt will do)
  • wool hat and gloves
  • sandals, tennis shoes, sneakers, running shoes, or hang-out shoes
  • sturdy hiking shoes or light boots
  • shade hat
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen (3 oz if you carry on) or you can purchase in gift shops – I’ll have a couple large containers so you can butter-up at the vehicles
  • Lip protection / chap stick
  • Insect repellent (3 oz if you carry on) or you can purchase in Grand Junction.
  • Two 1 liter water bottles or hydration pack – I’ll have powdered Gatorade and water jugs to refill your bottles during the day.
  • Day pack or hydration pack with enough room for jacket and lunch
  • Camera – you can recharge batteries and download from memory during evenings
  • Notebook
  • Pencil(s)
  • Colored pencils
  • Binoculars (borrow a pair if you don't have any).
  • Hand lens

There is WiFi so you can bring a laptop or pad.

There is phone service near towns; none or sporadic in the field

Most important – bring open mind and leave worries behind.

Expires on
03 April, 2014
Early Tuition
Expires on
09 May, 2014
Regular Tuition
12 people

Includes field transportation, lunches in the field, guidebook.
No refunds for cancellations after 4 April 2014.


Edmund R. (Gus) Gustason Enerplus Resources (USA) Corp., Denver, Colorado, USA
Vicky Kroh Registrar +1 918 560-2650
Debbi Debbi Boonstra Education Coordinator +1 918 560-2630

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