This course is designed to give participants the basic working tools to explore and develop hydrocarbons in salt basins. Because no two basins are alike, the focus is on understanding the processes and styles of salt-related deformation using a combination of seismic data, outcrop examples, and experimental models.
The course will initially address layered-evaporite basins and what drives salt mobility. We will then shift to discussing, first, how salt flow, diapirism, and minibasin formation are triggered by early differential loading, extension, contraction, or strike-slip deformation, and second, how diapirs and minibasins evolve over time and can be reactived during episodes of extension or shortening. Focusing in on the details around diapirs, we will examine how diapiric growth impacts folding, faulting, and reservoir distribution. Because salt often moves more laterally than vertically, we will explain how and why allochthonous canopies form and evolve, and what can be expected just below salt sheets.
Salt is found in a variety of tectonic settings. We will look at its role in facilitating and responding to deformation in rift basins, passive margins dominated by gravity-driven deformation, and convergent-margin fold-and-thrust belts, using examples for various salt basins around the world. Finally, because salt provides the framework for other aspects of the petroleum systems in these basins, we will examine the influence of salt bodies and salt welds on sediment transport and deposition, hydrocarbon maturation and migration, and seal of hydrocarbons. The course will consist primarily of lectures but will be supplemented by exercises focused mainly on interpretation of both 2-D and 3-D, time- and depth-migrated seismic data.