Outcrops have long been the tool of the trade for geologists trying to better understand the architecture, facies, and evolution of deep-water depositional systems. Most importantly, outcrops serve as accessible examples of deep-water systems that can be studied at a range of scales as analogs for the buried but economically important deep-water systems that are the targets of modern hydrocarbon exploration. Today, seismic studies of the sea floor and underlying sediments along modern deep-water continental margins in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, the North Sea, West Africa, Indonesia, and other key areas paint rather detailed pictures of basin- to reservoir-scale architecture of deep-water systems.
Although one-dimensional cores and logs from these areas provide limited views of features at a fine scale, there remains a resolution gap that complicates predictions of deep-water lithofacies and heterogeneity at intrafield scales. General recognition of this gap catalyzed a flurry of academic and industry studies of deep-water outcrops beginning in the 1980s. These outcrop studies greatly enhance understanding of deep-water processes and deposits. However, selecting and applying the appropriate analog is still a critical issue in deep-water settings.
With no collection of new and/or classis outcrops in a compendium volume available for review and comparison to active deep-water plays, this publication was created to create a knowledge base accrued from the study of many of the world’s best deep-water outcrops.
This Atlas incorporates the descriptions of the outcrop geometries as well as the statistical data obtained from the detailed studies of more than 100 deep-water outcrops from around the world and includes examples ranging from Precambrian to Cenozoic age, collected from seven continents and various islands. The publication is a single-volume summary of the current knowledge of most of the major outcropping deep-water rock sequences that serve as today’s models and analogs for the subsurface targets of petroleum exploration around the world.