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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).
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The Distinguished Lecture program, funded in part by the AAPG Foundation, is the Association’s flagship initiative for spreading the latest in science, technology and professional information.

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Fracture zones can be critical to improving or creating sufficient porosity and permeability in hydrocarbon reservoirs – with strain, along with lithology and thickness being the major controls.

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Jurassic deposition in the Maghrebian tethys was governed by eustasy and rifting. Two periods were delineated: (1) a carbonate shelf (Rhaetian–early Pliensbachian) and (2) a platform-basin complex (early Pliensbachian–Callovian). The carbonate shelf evolved in four stages, generating three sedimentary sequences, J1 to J3, separated by boundary sea level falls, drawdown, exposure, and local erosion. Sediment facies bear evidence of sea level rises and falls. Lateral changes in lithofacies indicate shoaling and deepening upward during the Sinemurian. A major pulse of rifting with an abrupt transition from carbonate shelf to pelagic basin environments of deposition marks the upper boundary of the lower Pliensbachian carbonate shelf deposits. This rifting episode with brittle fractures broke up the Rhaetian–early Pliensbachian carbonate shelf and has created a network of grabens, half grabens, horsts, and stacked ramps. Following this episode, a relative sea level rise led to pelagic sedimentation in the rift basins with local anoxic environments that also received debris shed from uplifted ramp crests. Another major episode spanning the whole early Pliensbachian–Bajocian is suggested by early brecciation, mass flows, slumps, olistolites, erosion, pinch-outs, and sedimentary prisms. A later increase in the rates of drifting marked a progress toward rift cessation during the Late Jurassic. These Jurassic carbonates with detrital deposits and black shales as the source rocks in northeastern Tunisia may define interesting petroleum plays (pinch-out flanking ramps, onlaps, and structurally upraised blocks sealed inside grabens). Source rock maturation and hydrocarbon migration began early in the Cretaceous and reached a maximum during the late Tortonian–Pliocene Atlassic orogeny.
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A three-dimensional seismic data set and published data from exploration wells were used to reconstruct the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Mandal High area, southern North Sea, Norway. The Mandal High is an elongated southeast-northwest–trending horst. Three fault families in the Lower Permian sequence, inherited from the basement structural grain of Caledonian origin, are interpreted: (1) a north-northwest–south-southeast–striking fault family, (2) a northeast-southwest–striking fault family, and (3) a near east-west–striking fault family. In addition, an east-southeast–west-northwest–striking fault family (4) that formed during Late Jurassic rifting and was reverse reactivated in the Late Cretaceous is interpreted. We suggest that inversion occurred because of small dextral motion along fault family 1. A final fault family (5) displays various strike orientations and is associated with salt movements.

Seven chronostratigraphic sequences defined by well data and recognized on three-dimensional seismic data are interpreted and mapped: Early Permian rifting in a continental environment; Late Permian deposition of the Zechstein salt and flooding; Triassic continental rifting; uplift and erosion in the Middle Jurassic with deposition of shallow-marine and deltaic sediments; rifting and transgression in a deep-marine environment during the Late Jurassic; a post-rift phase in a marine environment during the Early Cretaceous; and flooding and deposition of the Chalk Group in the Late Cretaceous. An eighth sequence was interpreted—Paleogene–Neogene—but has not been studied in detail. This sequence is dominated by progradation from the east and basin subsidence. Well and seismic data over the Mandal High reveal that large parts of the high were subaerially exposed from Late Permian to Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous, providing a local source of sediments for adjacent basins.

Similar to the Utsira High, where several large hydrocarbon discoveries have been recently seen, the Mandal High might consist of a set of petroleum plays, including fractured crystalline basement and shallow-marine systems along the flanks of the high, thereby opening up future exploration opportunities.

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We study the effects of planform dome shape on fault patterns developing with and without concurrent regional extension oriented oblique to the long axis of the dome. The motivation was the need to understand fault and fracture patterns in two adjacent mature hydrocarbon fields in the Middle East: one, an elliptical dome, and one, an irregularly shaped dome. The largest faults have throws of approximately 30 m (sim98 ft), which is close to the resolution limit of older two-dimensional seismic reflection data. The known fault trends are not parallel to the highest transmissivity direction but could form compartment boundaries. Fault and fracture patterns developed over the modeled domes provide insight into the populations of faults and fractures that are likely to exist in the reservoirs but have been undetected because they are at or below the resolution limit of reflection seismic data. Major domal structural elements, crestal fault systems, end splay systems, and radial faults are observed in modeled domes rising both with and without concurrent regional extension. Experimental results indicate that fault and fracture patterns are influenced by the effects of dome shape, regional extension, and relative timing of uplift with respect to regional extension. The expression of particular sets of faults and fractures associated with concurrent doming and regional extension depends on the interaction among regional extension, outer arc extension over the dome, and tangential extension around the dome margins. Our results also indicate that the two adjacent natural domes possibly experienced different kinematic histories from those previously interpreted.
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Transfer zones in rift basins are classified into convergent, divergent, and synthetic, based on the relative dip directions of adjacent faults within the transfer zone. Experimental models were constructed to determine the geometry, evolution, and fault patterns associated with each of these transfer zones. In addition, basement faults with initially approaching, laterally offset, and overlapping geometries were modeled. The models consisted of two layers, with stiff clay representing basement and soft clay representing the sedimentary cover. Laser scanning and three-dimensional surface modeling were used to determine the map geometry to compare the models with examples of natural structures. The experimental models showed many similarities with conceptual models but also showed more details and a few significant differences. Typically, divergent transfer zones are narrower than convergent transfer zones, for the same initial spacing between basement faults. The differences between the different initial fault configurations (approaching, laterally offset, or overlapping) are the degree of interaction of the secondary faults, the amount of overlap between the fault zones, and in some cases, the width of the transfer zone. The main faults propagate laterally and upward and curve in the direction of dip of the faults, so that the faults curve toward each other in convergent transfer zones, away from each other in divergent transfer zones, and in the same direction in synthetic transfer zones. A primary difference with schematic models is the significant component of extensional fault propagation folding (drape folding), accompanied by secondary faulting within the sedimentary cover, especially in the early stages of fault propagation. Therefore, all three types of transfer zones are characterized by significant folding and related variations in the shapes of structures. The transfer zones are marked by a progressive change in relief from the footwall to the hanging wall, resulting in a saddle-shaped geometry. The hanging walls of the faults are marked by a gentle flexure or rollover into the fault, with the amount of flexure increasing with fault throw away from the fault tip. The geometries and fault patterns of the experimental structures match some of the observations in natural structures and also provide predictive analogs for interpretation of surface and subsurface structures and the delineation of structural traps in rift basins.
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The central Black Sea Basin of Turkey is filled by more than 9 km (6 mi) of Upper Triassic to Holocene sedimentary and volcanic rocks. The basin has a complex history, having evolved from a rift basin to an arc basin and finally having become a retroarc foreland basin. The Upper Triassic–Lower Jurassic Akgol and Lower Cretaceous Cağlayan Formations have a poor to good hydrocarbon source rock potential, and the middle Eocene Kusuri Formation has a limited hydrocarbon source rock potential. The basin has oil and gas seeps. Many large structures associated with extensional and compressional tectonics, which could be traps for hydrocarbon accumulations, exist.

Fifteen onshore and three offshore exploration wells were drilled in the central Black Sea Basin, but none of them had commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. The assessment of these drilling results suggests that many wells were drilled near the Ekinveren, Erikli, and Ballıfakı thrusts, where structures are complex and oil and gas seeps are common. Many wells were not drilled deep enough to test the potential carbonate and clastic reservoirs of the İnaltı and Cağlayan Formations because these intervals are locally buried by as much as 5 km (3 mi) of sedimentary and volcanic rocks. No wells have tested prospective structures in the north and east where the prospective İnalti and Cağlayan Formations are not as deeply buried. Untested hydrocarbons may exist in this area.

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Outcrops of the Cretaceous high-porosity sandstone of the Southeast Basin, France, show two main types of deformation structures: a large number of small-offset, shear-enhanced cataclastic deformation bands (DBs); and a small number of large (meters to decameters)-offset ultracataclastic fault zones. Microstructural analyses of the cataclastic DBs show that fragmentation produces strands of cataclastic fragment-supported matrix, separated by weakly fractured host rock, which cluster to form the DBs. The ultracataclastic fault zones, however, are composed of a matrix-supported ultracataclasite material. Permeability data show that the DBs reduce host-rock permeability by 0.5 to 2 orders of magnitude, whereas the ultracataclasites reduce permeability by approximately 4 orders. Simple calculations considering the structural frequency, thickness, and permeability of these faults suggest that, although the DBs may have an impact on single-phase flow, it is most likely to be less than a 50% reduction in flow rate in extensional contexts, but it may be more severe in the most extreme cases of structural density in tectonic shortening contexts. The larger ultracataclastic faults, however, despite their much lower frequency, will have a more significant reduction in flow rate, probably of approximately 90 to 95%. Hence, although they are commonly at or below the limit of seismic resolution, the detection and/or prediction of such ultracataclastic faults is likely to be more important for single-phase flow problems than DBs (although important two-phase questions remain). The study also suggests that it is inappropriate to use the petrophysical properties of core-scale DB structures as analogs to larger seismic-scale faults.
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We do not dispute that the pores shown in the photomicrograph of figure 8G of Beavington-Penney et al. (2008; reproduced here as Figure 1) could have formed at least partly by poststylolite dissolution, but we do not agree that this photomicrograph constitutes evidence for porosity creation by mesogenetic dissolution in the El Garia Formation of offshore Tunisia. Our skepticism is based on two main considerations: (1) that the multiple possible origins of the pores shown in Figure 1 cannot be determined with any meaningful degree of objective certainty and (2) that Figure 1 appears to be unrepresentative of pore types in the El Garia Formation, based on comparison with numerous other published images from this unit.
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In-Person Training
Buenos Aires Argentina 11 May, 2015 12 May, 2015 14137 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/extending-mature-fields-life-cycles-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
11-12 May 2015

Join leading scientists and industry practitioners at Extending Mature Fields’ Life Cycles: the Role of New Technologies & Integrated Strategies, a Geoscience Technology Workshop (GTW) organized by the AAPG Latin America Region and the Asociación Argentina de Geólogos y Geofísicos Petroleros (AAGGP).

Barcelona Spain 14 September, 2015 18 September, 2015 153 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/fs-Folding-Thrusting-and-Syntectonic-Sedimentation-Perspectives-from-Classic-Localities-Central-Pyrenees.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
Barcelona, Spain
14-18 September 2015

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.

Online Training
28 April, 2011 28 April, 2011 1471 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-niobrara-petroleum-system-a-major-tight-resource-play.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
28 April 2011

The Niobrara Petroleum System of the U.S. Rocky Mountain Region is a major tight petroleum resource play.

19 August, 2010 19 August, 2010 1462 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-challenging-the-paradigm-missing-section-normal-fault.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
19 August 2010

This presentation will show where there are cases of missing sections, but none of them can be attributed to normal faulting.

14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7817 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-generic-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
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