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A new hierarchical architectural classification for clastic marginal-marine depositional systems is presented and illustrated with examples. In ancient rocks, the architectural scheme effectively integrates the scales of sedimentology (core, outcrop) and sequence stratigraphy (wireline-log correlation, reflection seismic). The classification also applies to modern sediments, which allows for direct comparison of architectural units between modern and ancient settings. In marginal-marine systems, the parasequence typically defines reservoir flow units. This classification addresses subparasequence scales of stratigraphy that commonly control fluid flow in these reservoirs. The scheme consists of seven types of architectural units that are placed on five architectural hierarchy levels: hierarchy level I: element (E) and element set (ES); hierarchy level II: element complex (EC) and element complex set (ECS); hierarchy level III: element complex assemblage (ECA); hierarchy level IV: element complex assemblage set (ECAS); and hierarchy level V: transgressive-regressive sequence (T-R sequence). Architectural units in levels I to III are further classified relative to dominant depositional processes (wave, tide, and fluvial) acting at the time of deposition. All architectural units are three-dimensional and can also be expressed in terms of plan-view and cross-sectional geometries. Architectural units can be linked using tree data structures by a set of familial relationships (parent-child, siblings, and cousins), which provides a novel mechanism for managing uncertainty in marginal-marine systems. Using a hierarchical scheme permits classification of different data types at the most appropriate architectural scale. The use of the classification is illustrated in ancient settings by an outcrop and subsurface example from the Campanian Bearpaw–Horseshoe Canyon Formations transition, Alberta, Canada, and in modern settings, by the Mitchell River Delta, northern Australia. The case studies illustrate how the new classification can be used across both modern and ancient systems, in complicated, mixed-process depositional environments.
Isolated carbonate buildups (ICBs) are commonly attractive exploration targets. However, identifying ICBs based only on seismic data can be difficult for a variety of reasons. These include poor-quality two-dimensional data and a basic similarity between ICBs and other features such as volcanoes, erosional remnants, and tilted fault blocks. To address these difficulties and develop reliable methods to identify ICBs, 234 seismic images were analyzed. The images included proven ICBs and other features, such as folds, volcanoes, and basement highs, which may appear similar to ICBs when imaged in seismic data. From this analysis, 18 identification criteria were derived to distinguish ICBs from non-ICB features. These criteria can be grouped into four categories: regional constraints, analysis of basic seismic geometries, analysis of geophysical details, and finer-scale seismic geometries. Systematically assessing the criteria is useful because it requires critical evaluation of the evidence present in the available data, working from the large-scale regional geology to the fine details of seismic response. It is also useful to summarize the criteria as a numerical score to facilitate comparison between different examples and different classes of ICBs and non-ICBs. Our analysis of scores of different classes of features suggests that the criteria do have some discriminatory power, but significant challenges remain.
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists sponsored a Hedberg Research Conference on Enhanced Geothermal Systems in Napa, California, March 18 to 23, 2011. The workshop was attended by 67 participants from 10 different countries: United States, Australia, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway.

The third dimension: Continued improvements in new technologies such as 3-D seismic are helping some companies deal with the cost of successful shale exploration.

Explorer Article

Pesky hydrocarbons just want out: Is the trap half-full or half-empty?


Historical Highlights: In spite of secrecy, lack of access to well data, long-time BP employee was privileged to become involved in a major petroleum province before it was discovered and stayed with it until it reached maturity.

Explorer Emphasis Article

 The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with European geoscience organizations, is assessing resource potential from continuous-type gas and oil accumulations in the fine-grained rocks of Europe.

Explorer Article

The fast-approaching AAPG International Conference and Exhibition in Milan will showcase – in association with EMD – a comprehensive unconventional resources program with global scope, ranging in scale from the nanopore to the petroleum system, exploring the latest in applied geoscience and engineering.

Explorer Article

Play Fairway study available for free: 400-KM integrated dataset used in study .

Explorer Article

A Fairway to paradise? Nova Scotia’s offshore energy industry is in the global spotlight after an enticing assessment of resources in the Scotian Basin.

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