Seismic Interpretation in Fold-and-Thrust Belts: Field Trip to the Southern Canadian Rocky Mountain Foreland Early Tuition
Expires in 180 days
Take a first hand look at the basic working tools to explore and develop hydrocarbons in salt basins. This introduction to salt tectonics is intended for geoscientists, engineers, and managers who need review or update on this constantly evolving field. The course is appropriate for those working in any salt basin globally and assumes abasic familiarity with structural geology concepts and terminology
Participants will examine illustrative outcrops of thrusts, fault-related folds, stratal architectures and facies of depositional systems affected by growing structures, which are good analogues for hydrocarbon reservoirs. Objectives include interpreting complex thrust structures, identifying and understanding strain and fracture systems in fold-thrust belts, and analyzing patterns of growth strata in areas with synsedimentary folding.
The Molasse Basin represents the northern foreland basin of the Alps. After decades of exploration, it is considered to be mature in terms of hydrocarbon exploration. However, geological evolution and hydrocarbon potential of its imbricated southernmost part (Molasse fold and thrust belt) are still poorly understood. In this study, structural and petroleum systems models are integrated to explore the hydrocarbon potential of the Perwang imbricates in the western part of the Austrian Molasse Basin.
The structural model shows that total tectonic shortening in the modeled north–south section is at least 32.3 km (20.1 mi) and provides a realistic input for the petroleum systems model. Formation temperatures show present-day heat flows decreasing toward the south from 60 to 41 mW/m2. Maturity data indicate very low paleoheat flows decreasing southward from 43 to 28 mW/m2. The higher present-day heat flow probably indicates an increase in heat flow during the Pliocene and Pleistocene.
Apart from oil generated below the imbricated zone and captured in autochthonous Molasse rocks in the foreland area, oil stains in the Perwang imbricates and oil-source rock correlations argue for a second migration system based on hydrocarbon generation inside the imbricates. This assumption is supported by the models presented in this study. However, the model-derived low transformation ratios (20%) indicate a charge risk. In addition, the success for future exploration strongly depends on the existence of migration conduits along the thrust planes during charge and on potential traps retaining their integrity during recent basin uplift.
We present a method of using fault displacement-distance profiles to distinguish fault-bend, shear fault-bend, and fault-propagation folds, and use these insights to guide balanced and retrodeformable interpretations of these structures. We first describe the displacement profiles associated with different end-member fault-related folding models, then provide examples of structures that are consistent with these model-based predictions. Natural examples are imaged in high-resolution two- and three dimensional seismic reflection data sets from the Niger Delta, Sichuan Basin, Sierras Pampeanas, and Cascadia to record variations in displacement with distance updip along faults (termed displacement-distance profiles). Fault-bend folds exhibit constant displacement along fault segments and changes in displacement associated with bends in faults, shear fault-bend folds demonstrate an increase in displacement through the shearing interval, and fault-propagation folds exhibit decreasing displacement toward the fault tip. More complex structures are then investigated using this method, demonstrating that displacement-distance profiles can be used to provide insight into structures that involve multiple fault-related folding processes or have changed kinematic behavior over time. These interpretations are supported by comparison with the kinematics inferred from the geometry of growth strata overlying these structures. Collectively, these analyses illustrate that the displacement-distance approach can provide valuable insights into the styles of fault-related folding.
This story, whose outcome was an important milestone for Total’s exploration at the time of discovery, can be seen as complementary to the Mahakam success story, described in the September 2011 Historical Highlights column.
In the rough terrain of overthrust settings, 2-D seismic data continues to be a standard tool for subsurface mapping – and not only because of economic reasons. Two-D and 3-D seismic surveys are complementary in land environments, because each data type has its own strength and weakness.
Oil production in Nigeria started in 1958 after the discovery of Oloibiri oil field in 1956.
Italy will be in the AAPG spotlight in October as it becomes, for the first time ever, the host country for the AAPG International Conference and Exhibition.
This structural field course in the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies focuses on relating outcrop to seismic expressions of compressive structural styles that are common in fold-and-thrust belts and deepwater passive margins (toe thrust belts) worldwide. Participants will recognize common types of structures in fold-and-thrust belts, apply fault-related folding concepts to interpret these structures, identify petroleum traps and their major structural risk elements, and recognize similarities between styles of trap and reservoir-scale deformation.
The main part of the field seminar will focus on the description of the fractured carbonates and the extrapolation from the outcrop observations to the subsurface for building geologically plausible reservoir models.
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. At course completion participants should be able to under the depositional setting of layered evaporites, describe the mechanics of salt flow, interpret salt and stratal geometries associated with diapirs, salt welds, and minibasins, and assess more accurately the risks in the exploration of salt basins.
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