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2013-14 Tour Information
Western North America:
• February 17-28, 2014
Joseph Carl Fiduk
Chief Geologist for WesternGeco, Houston, TX
Funded by the AAPG Foundation
I have a B.S. and M.S. degree in Geology from the University of Florida. I have an M.B.A degree from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and a Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Texas at Austin. I have worked for the USGS, Gulf Oil, Discovery Logging, the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, British Petroleum, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas, the University of Colorado, as a private consultant, and Chief Geologist for CGG and CGGVeritas. I am currently Chief Geologist for WesternGeco in Houston, TX.
My research interests cover coastal and shelfal clastic deposition, salt structural deformation and evolution, basin analysis, shelf margin to deep marine depositional processes, marine sedimentology, petroleum systems analysis, and the use of three-dimensional seismic data in petroleum exploration. I am currently involved in salt-sediment interaction research in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia, fluvial deltaic deposition in the Cretaceous Seaway of NW Colorado, and deep marine stratigraphic analysis in the Gulf of Mexico. I teach internal training classes on seismic interpretation and salt tectonics for WesternGeco and external industry courses for Nautilus U.S.A. and local geologic societies.
I am a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) #352532 and a Certified Petroleum Geologist #5367. I have served as a session chair at the 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010, and 2011 National Conventions. I was an invited speaker at the 1991, 1993, 2004, 2005, and 2010 conventions and at the 1999 and 2008 International conferences. I have also been invited to speak to the Moroccan Association of Petroleum Geologists (2007) and the Mexican Association of Petroleum Geologists (2008).
I am a member of the Houston Geological Society (HGS) #10461. I have been an alternate delegate for the HGS since 2004 and have sat as a voting representative four times. I served as a session chairman at the 2006 and 2012 GCAGS meetings. I co-instructed a short course in Deepwater Depositional Processes at the 2007 GCAGS meeting in Corpus Christi. I have been an invited speaker to the HGS dinner meetings in 1996 and in 2005. I have been an invited speaker to the New Orleans Geological Society (1999), the Southwest Research Institute (2001), the Costal Bend Geophysical Society & Corpus Christi Geological Society (2004), the HGS-PESGB 4th International Conference on African E & P (2005), the Lafayette Geological Society (2005), the New Orleans Geological Society (2006), the Dallas Geological Society (2007), and the Offshore Technology Conference (2010).
I am a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) #148620 and a member of the Geophysical Society of Houston #10461. I served as a session chair at the 2009 National Convention.
I am a member of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) #43576 and a member of the Gulf Coast Section SEPM where I am the current president-elect. I have served on the Conference program advisory committee in 2005 and served as a session chair in 2005. I was an invited speaker at the 10th Annual Research Conference (1989), 24th Annual Research Conference (2004), and the 25th Annual Research Conference (2005).
In my 30+ years as a working geologist I have published 70+ peer-reviewed abstracts and papers.
The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is the 9th largest body of water on earth, covering an area of approximately 1.6 million km2 with water depths reaching 4,400 m (14,300’). The basin formed as a result of crustal extension during the early Mesozoic breakup of Pangaea. Rifting occurred from the Late Triassic to early Middle Jurassic. Continued extension through the Middle Jurassic combined with counter-clockwise rotation of crustal blocks away from North America produced highly extended continental crust in the subsiding basin center. Subsidence eventually allowed oceanic water to enter from the west leading to thick, widespread, evaporite deposition. Seafloor spreading initiated in the Late Jurassic eventually splitting the evaporite deposits into northern (USA) and southern (Mexican) basins. Recent work suggests that this may have been accomplished by asymmetric extension, crustal delamination, and exposure of the lower crust or upper mantle rather than true sea floor spreading (or it could be some combination of the two). By 135 Ma almost all extension had ceased and the basic configuration of the GOM basin seen today was established. The Laramide Orogeny was the last major tectonic event impacting the GOM. It caused uplift and erosion for the NW margin from the Late Cretaceous to early Eocene.
Sedimentation in the GOM can be divided into five megasequences: Rifting to Upper Jurassic, Lower Cretaceous, Upper Cretaceous, Paleogen, and Neogene. The oldest sediments are clastics in the Upper Triassic known only from peripheral rift basins onshore. In the basin center evaporites of the Middle Jurassic Louann Formation are the oldest deposits encountered. Deformation and movement of the Louann salt affects almost all the overlying strata and plays a very important role in all aspects of the basin’s petroleum systems. Above the salt, Upper Jurassic marine shales of Oxfordian and Tithonian age comprise two of the most important petroleum source beds. In the Lower Cretaceous megasequence the Aptian age Sligo and Albian age Stuart City carbonates established basin rimming reef margins that divided shelf from deep water. These reefs sit above the structural hinge between thick and thin continental crust. In the Upper Cretaceous megasequence the Cenemanian age Woodbine-Tuscaloosa system represent the first coarse clastics to advance beyond the Lower Cretaceous shelf margin. The megasequence is capped with tsunami deposits from the Chicxulub impact on the Yucatan peninsula. The Paleogene1 and Neogene2 megasequences are dominated by major clastic inputs of the lower Wilcox1, upper Wilcox1, Vicksburg1, and Frio1, lower Miocene2, middle Miocene2, upper Miocene2, Pliocene2, and Pleistocene2. These progradational episodes not only advanced the shorelines and shelf margins significantly but also deposited thick sands (major reservoirs) in the deep GOM. The Neogene progradational episodes are strongly influenced by glacio-eustatic cycles of increasing frequency and amplitude.
Abstract 2: The Influence of Salt Structures and Salt Deformation on Petroleum Exploration in the Deep-water Northern Gulf of Mexico
Hydrocarbon exploration beneath the shallow allochthonous salt canopy of the ultra-deepwater central Gulf of Mexico has encountered three thick, sand-rich, submarine fan successions that punctuate an otherwise relatively condensed and fine-grained basin center stratigraphy. These sand-rich fans are Late Paleocene, Early Miocene, and Middle Miocene in age and each coincide with periods of very high sediment flux and basin margin instability. They are the primary exploration targets in most ultra-deepwater fields, recent discoveries, and failed exploration tests.
The underlying basement configuration contains the horsts and grabens of a rift basin setting. The deep parts of the rift became salt basins filled with the Jurassic Louann salt. During the Cretaceous, kilometers-thick salt nappes extruded from these basins onto the basin margins. The nappes may have coalesced to form a regional allochthonous salt nappe around the margin of the salt basins, similar to the modern Sigsbee Escarpment. Later clastic sedimentation caused deflation of the nappe leaving remnant salt structures behind. The remnant salt bodies form the core structures over which younger sand-rich fans are folded and draped.
Regional 3D PSDM data show that remnant salt bodies from the now deflated Cretaceous nappe form the core structure in fields at Chinook and Cascade and in recent discoveries at Stones, Das Bump, St. Malo, and Jack. Both seismic and well data show that the sand-rich outer fan of all three fan systems overlies the zone of salt nappe remnants. It would be a remarkable coincidence for the sandy outer fans of three different age depositional systems and the termination of two more widely separated (both temporally and spatially) allochthonous salt systems to stack vertically. The fact that they do suggests that both deep-water fan deposition and allochthonous salt emplacement were responding to a deeper structural control.
Abstract 3: Mesozoic Carbonate Rafts Above and Keel Structures at the Base of Shallow Salt Canopies: Exotic Processes at work in the Deep-water Northern Gulf of Mexico
Seismic correlations and well data confirm that deep-water carbonate beds of Mesozoic age have been found above the shallow allochthonous salt canopy in the northern Gulf of Mexico. These rafts of carbonate strata often overlie equivalent age Mesozoic carbonates in their correct stratigraphic position below the salt canopy. The presence of displaced Mesozoic carbonate rafts above the canopy raises two important questions: 1) how did Mesozoic strata get to such a shallow level in the basin statigraphy? and 2) what effect do high velocity carbonates have on seismic imaging below shallow salt?
The origin of keel structures is presently not well understood. Empirical observations suggest that keels form in response to at least two types of subsalt deformation. The first of these two types links keels to a detachment within Oligocene-to-Eocene strata. The second type of keel-related deformation links keel formation to faults associated with extension over deep salt structures. As deformation occurs after shallow canopy emplacement, the keels are fairly recent developments geologically. Volumetrically few but intriguing observations suggest possible basement involvement in keel formation.