ABSTRACT

To assess prospective modeling trends for oolitic tidal sand shoals and explore potential patterns of reservoir heterogeneity, this study examines, quantifies, and models the cycle-scale architecture of the Holocene mobile oolitic tidal sand shoal complex at Schooner Cays, Bahamas. Process-based stratigraphic trends are captured in quantitative, geocellular models of the shoal from analyses of satellite imagery; two-dimensional, high-frequency seismic (chirp) data; and sediment cores. Data show that longitudinal tidal sand ridges extend up to 8 km (5 mi) along depositional dip, gradually transforming bankward into channel-bound, compound barforms consisting of linear, parabolic, and shoulder bars. These bars terminate into a laterally extensive (10 km [6 mi]), strike-elongate sand sheet. Each bar type includes distinct internal architecture, grain size, and sorting related to feedbacks among hydrodynamics, geomorphology, and sedimentology. Building on these data and concepts from the Holocene accumulations, this study demonstrates a methodology for quantifying and validating probabilistic stratigraphic trends prior to their inclusion in stochastic-based facies modeling algorithms. Inclusion of statistically robust facies probability volumes during truncated Gaussian simulation generated ordered and geologically accurate facies distributions relative to bar-crest centerlines, water depth, and geomorphic position. Petrophysical models that incorporate facies-specific porosity, permeability, and water saturation functions display pronounced cycle-scale heterogeneity that could provide insights into variable production rates and poor sweep efficiency commonly encountered during development of analogous oolitic reservoirs.

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