08 September, 2021 Barcelona Barcelona Spain

Structural Styles and Hydrocarbon Prospectivity in Fold Thrust Belt Settings: A Global Perspective

7-8 September 2021
Barcelona, Spain

Fold Thrust Belts are considered the foremost tectonic expression of convergent margins. Their topographic relief produces exposures to understand not only their evolution but also the tectonic setting and paleogeographic evolution before orogeny. Plate tectonic interactions have been responsible for compressional systems from the Paleozoic to the most recent late Cenozoic fold thrust belt systems, forming large and elongated orogenic belts. Complex geodynamic settings and differences in mechanical stratigraphy characteristics have often triggered the development of unique geometries and relationships between units. However, similarities between structural styles and tectonic evolution among fold thrust belts in different regions can also be identified.

These Fold Thrust Belt Systems have been studied in order to understand their dynamics but also because they contain large hydrocarbon resources. They are characterised by complex trap geometries, reservoirs and source rock distributions as well as compound burial and thermal histories. In fold and thrust belts, an additional complicating factor is the short geological time span between the onset of petroleum generation, migration, and trap development. Despite those challenges and the various complexities, fold and thrust belts have been the focus of intense and long-lived exploration around the world. Recent hydrocarbon discoveries in fold thrust belt systems, and the most recent data confirming they still hold a large hydrocarbon prospectivity, have increased the interest from both academia and industry in deciphering their complexity.

The AAPG Workshop on “Structural Styles and Hydrocarbon Prospectivity in Fold Thrust Belt Settings: A global perspective” aims at bringing together experts from academia and industry from a range of disciplines to share experiences, new approaches, new data and new ways of integrating information that can help in reducing the uncertainties related to the exploration activities in Thrust Belt Systems.

The session themes aim to span several scales of observation from the local to the regional scale and draw on experience from different settings within the Thrust Belt Systems and different geographic areas.


Topics for Abstract Submission
  • Geodynamics
    • Plate tectonics setting
    • Old versus Recent deformation events: interactions and impacts
  • Understanding fold and thrust belt geometries
    • Outcrop as a key to predict subsurface. The use of digital outcrop mapping and 3D structural models.
    • Analog modelling.
    • Kinematics: temporal and spatial evolution of structural style.
    • Inherited structures, thick versus thin-skinned, salt detached FTB.
  • Geophysics
    • Processing issues and solutions on imaging thrust belts (new techniques and approaches)
  • Fracture reservoirs in FTB
    • Fracture characterization.
    • Stress field evolutions and their impact on fault and fracture networks.
  • Petroleum system modelling in fold and thrust belts.
  • Exploration discoveries and future prospectivity in fold and thrust belts; Case studies:
    • Europe
    • Africa
    • Global analogues.


AAPG Event Barcelona Álava Spain 22 November, 2020 Member 24 November, 2020 25 November, 2020 8:00 AM 5:00 PM 06 April, 2020
Barcelona, Spain
22-23 November 2020

Field Trip Leader: Jaume Vergés

This 2 day fieldtrip to the South Pyrenean Fold Belt is to have an overview of a fold belt and adjacent foreland basin through four well-exposed and well-known localities. Each example permits the discussion of different geological processes related to the interplay between tectonics and sedimentation and the role of salt-tectonics during both pre-compression rifting and during tectonic inversion.

Day 1

Stop 1: Overview of the southern margin of the Ebro foreland basin: Montserrat fan-delta

The main objective In the Montserrat fan-delta locality is to characterize the evolution of the southern margin of the Ebro foreland basin during the Pyrenean shortening with especial emphasis on its tectono-sedimentary evolution through the Eocene. The size and quality of this outcrop is directly comparable to good seismic examples.

Stop 2: Role of detachment levels and salt-tectonics in building the fold belt: Cardona diapir

The main objective in the Cardona diapir locality is to provide an overview of salt tectonics in compressional settings at different scales using the South Pyrenean examples. The role of pre- and syn-orogenic evaporitic levels during shortening in fold belts is discussed as well the interplay between tectonics and sedimentation.

Overnight in Solsona

Day 2

Stop 1: 3-D Growth strata to define folding mechanisms and growing topography: Sant Llorenç de Morunys

In the Sant Llorenç de Morunys locality. along the footwall of the Pyrenean thrust sheets, we can observe the 3-D views of the large-scale and best preserved growth strata worldwide; several square kilometres and more than 500 m of tectonic relief. The size and quality of this outcrop is directly comparable to good seismic examples.

Stop 2: Evolution and inversion of a salt-related rift basin: Roca Narieda

In the Roca Narieda locality we discuss the role of pre-orogenic salt tectonics in development of salt-related rift basins and their control on Lower Cretaceous platform growth. Outcrop is also superb and is directly comparable to good seismic examples.

Drive to Barcelona (2:30 hours)


In mid-November the weather can be cold rainy and you should bring warm and waterproof clothes and suitable hiking boots. If weather conditions are good we can walk on steep terrain for short distances.

Show more
AAPG Event Barcelona Álava Spain 26 November, 2020 Member, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Structure, Tectonics (General) 8:00 AM 5:00 PM 23 April, 2020
Barcelona, Spain
26-27 November 2020

Trip leader(s): Josep Anton Muñoz, Pablo Granado and Eduard Roca

The aim of this 2-day field trip is the recognition of the key structural features of a fold and thrust belt detached on salt that has resulted from the inversion of a previous passive margin. To achieve this objective, some of the key and most spectacular localities of the southern Pyrenees have been selected along the ECORS-Pyrenees transect. This is a reference cross-section provided that for many years a huge amount of geological and geophysical data sets has been collected and integrating into a kinematic model of the South-Pyrenean fold and thrust belt. Subsurface data (well logs and seismic sections) will be combined with field observations. One of the main characteristics of the southern Pyrenees is the preservation of the synorogenic sediments since the earlier stages of deformation, which not only provide time constraints but also allow us discussion of kinematics of fault-related folds and thrust systems. Finally, the mild contractional deformation permits deciphering the initial geometry of the rift system and the salt structures that configure the structural grain of the passive margin before the inversion, allowing discussion of the role that these structures play during the fold and thrust belt development.

A close up of a hillside Description automatically generated
Itinerary: (day by day details of the trip)
Day 1

Stop 1.1: The South-Pyrenean thrust front. Sant Llorenç de Montgai

Structure of a frontal thrust system and related unconformities. Out of sequence thrusts and synorogenic sediments.

A close up of a hillside Description automatically generated

The frontal thrust system of the South-central Pyrenees has been detached into the Triassic evaporites and involves a thin Mesozoic succession. It is characterized by an emergent thrust system during the sedimentation of upper Eocene and lower Oligocene continental sediments. Frontal thrusts were progressively buried by conglomerates, triggering a break-back thrusting sequence and the development of out-of-sequence thrusts bringing together strongly different Mesozoic successions, such as the Montroig thrust in the picture.

Stop 1.2: The Ager basin and the Montsec thrust sheet. Fontllonga

The Ager basin in the footwall of the Montsec thrust.

The Montsec thrust sheet developed from the Paleocene to the Early Eocene as recorded by continental to shallow marine sediments deposited in its footwall (Ager basin) as well as in the Tremp-Graus piggy-back basin. The lower Eocene sediments of these basins grade westward into the slope succession filling the Ainsa basin at the footwall of the Montsec thrust.

Stop 1.3: The frontal structure of the Montsec thrust sheet. Ametlla (optional: Montrebei)

Fault-propagation fold related with the inversion of Early Cretaceous extensional faults and growth deltaic sediments in the footwall syncline.

A close up of a hillside Description automatically generated

The Montsec thrust sheet involves the northern part of the Upper Cretaceous foreland basin characterised by a strong subsident turbiditic trough at the footwall of the Bóixols thrust. These turbidites grade southward into a carbonatic platform that constitutes the backbone of the Montsec Range (main ridge and cliff of the pictures). Underneath the Upper Cretaceous carbonates, some Early Cretaceous extensional faults are preserved in the hanging wall of the Montsec thrust, but others have controlled the development of a hanging wall frontal anticline. The geometry of this anticline as well as the structure of the growth sediments in the footwall Ager syncline are visible in the field. The subthrust geometry will be discussed integrating surface observations and the available seismic and well data.

A close up of a hillside Description automatically generated

Overnight in Tremp

Day 2

Stop 2.1: The Sant Corneli-Bóixols anticline

Inversion of the rift margin

A close up of a hillside Description automatically generated

The Sant Corneli-Bóixols anticline is the most prominent frontal structure of the Bóixols thrust sheet in the central Pyrenees. This fold trends east–west and crops out for greater than 40 km along strike. The Sant Corneli-Bóixols anticline involves a thick Mesozoic succession detached on top of Triassic evaporites. The prefolding sequence consists of up to 5 km of prerift, synrift, and postrift carbonates ranging in age from Jurassic to Upper Cretaceous. Synfolding Upper Cretaceous sediments start with the upper Santonian carbonates and continue with a succession of Campanian and Maastrichtian marls and turbidites.

The Sant Corneli–Bóixols anticline is an example of an inversion fold developed along the rift margin of the Lower Cretaceous basin. Its geometry is related with the inverted extensional system. In particular, the three-dimensional geometry, including the saddles between culminations, is inherited from the previous transfer faults of the segmented rift margin.

Available seismic data and 3 exploratory wells constrain the geometry at depth.

Stop 2.2: The synororgenic Paleogene conglomerates

Inverted Lower Cretaceous basin and Eocene-Oligocene synorogenic conglomerates at Collegats gorge.

Stop 2.3 (optional): The Sopeira and Aulet minibasins. Sopeira

Minibasins developed by extensional collapse and salt evacuation during the thermal subsidence at the southern Pyrenean rift margin. Inversion of these minibasins at the early stages of Pyrenean contractional deformation during Late Cretaceous.

Additional logistic information

Transportation will be with a small bus, assisted by minivans to have access to some of the outcrops.

Physical demand, equipment and safety

This is an easy field trip with very easy and limited hikes to get to the outcrops. Outcrops will be from main sealed roads.

Safety vests will be available, to be used by everybody of the group wherever required and asked to. There will be First Aid Kits available in each car during fieldwork.


The climate during mid-end November in the fieldwork area can be cold and rainy, although dry and sunny days may occur as well. The temperature for November in Tremp can range between 30C and 170C. Participants should be prepared in case we should encounter bad weather and you should bring warm and waterproof clothes and suitable hiking boots.

Show more


Hotel Alimara Barcelona
Carrer de Berruguete, 126
Barcelona 08035
+34 934 27 00 00
Barcelona, Spain - Hotel Alimara Barcelona, Spain - Hotel Alimara New Date 56033 Hotel Alimara Barcelona

Pricing to be announced soon

*Rates do not include the local VAT


Raffaele Di Cuia Raffaele Di Cuia Co-Chair Technical Director, delta energy, Italy
Gonzalo A. Zamora Valcarce Gonzalo Zamora Valcarce Co-Chair Structural Geology Manager, Repsol, Spain
Paul Griffiths Paul Griffiths Committee Member Shell, London
Piotr  Krzywiec Piotr Krzywiec Committee Member Polish Academy of Sciences, PAN, Poland
Csaba Krezsek, PhD Csaba Krezsek Committee Member Petrom, Romania
Stefano Mazzoli, PhD Stefano Mazzoli Committee Member University of Camerino, Italy
Josep  Poblet, PhD Josep Poblet Committee Member University of Oviedo, Spain
Wieske Eloa Paulissen Wieske Paulissen Committee Member Exploration Manager Kudristan, DNO ASA, Norway
Oskar Vidal Royo Oskar Vidal Royo Committee Member Co-founder & Managing Director, Terractiva Consulting SL, Spain
Oriol Ferrer Oriol Ferrer Committee Member Tenure-track lecturer, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Jaume Verges, PhD Jaume Verges Committee Member CSIC, Spain
Jose De Vera Jose De Vera Committee Member Shell Exploration, USA


Events and Office Administrator +44 (0) 203 962 4468
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/diaz-marta.jpg?width=75&quality=90&encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 37979 Marta Diaz

What Can I Do?

Add Item

Enter Notes:
* You must be logged in to name and customize your collection.
Recommend Recommend
Printable Version Printable Version Email to a friend Email to a friend

AAPG Non-endorsement Policy

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) does not endorse or recommend any products and services that may be cited, used or discussed in AAPG publications or in presentations at events associated with AAPG.