During this seminar, leaders and participants together will:
- Examine a wide variety of carbonate facies types: coral reef platforms with continuous progradational talus slopes grading into basinal deposits; temperate-water carbonate systems; evaporites, microbial buildups (thrombolites, stromatolites) and oolitic shoals.
- Study and discuss various types of unconformities and associated paleokarst; evolution and distribution of porosity associated with meteoric, acid, and hydrothermal karst processes.
- Examine and discuss relationships and interaction with evaporites, volcanoes and volcaniclastics.
- Discuss large-to small-scale predictability of depositional facies and porosity trends important for estimating reservoir parameters.
- Compare and discuss methods, approaches, and results in using outcrops to build 3-D cellular reservoir-analog models.
- Relate field seminar topics and stops to play concepts in carbonates throughout the geologic record.
This field seminar is held in an area in which compressional, shear-zone and extensional tectonism created highly variable basement paleotopography and differing basin morphologies prior to Upper Miocene-Pliocene carbonate deposition. Superb 3-D exposures of Upper Miocene - Pliocene carbonates in SE Spain offer an unrivaled opportunity to learn from undisturbed depositional geometries. The area is a natural classroom for illustrating basic and advanced concepts of carbonate sequence stratigraphy, and evaluating the interaction of sea-level fluctuations, paleotopography, paleoclimate, and various diagenetic processes on reservoir character of a variety of carbonate systems. Outcrops in the region reveal evolution from heterozoan (temperate/cool water) carbonate systems to photozoan systems (coral reef-rimmed platforms) to an oolitic and microbialite (thrombolite, stromatolite) cyclic system.
The field seminar develops and evaluates the sequence stratigraphic framework and controls on location and reservoir character of Upper Miocene-Pliocene carbonate sequences from a variety of carbonate systems within the context of the regional paleogeography. Facies architecture of Upper Miocene carbonate complexes will be explored using sequence stratigraphy stacking patterns, controls of relative sea level, basement paleotopography, basin morphology, paleovalley systems, and climate. Diagenetic processes (including those related to karst and dolomitization) that affected the rocks are integrated to evaluate the controls on porosity distribution. Various forms of primary and secondary porosity exist in the outcrop. Particular emphasis is placed on applying principles from the field seminar and utilization of the excellent outcrops as analogs to a wide range of subsurface reservoir equivalents.