In this case study, we used simulated seismic data from outcrops on Svalbard to analyze what seismic facies are composed of, what the dominating factors in forming the facies are, and which consequences this has for the interpretation results. Seismic facies analyses can be used to interpret environmental setting, depositional processes, and lithology. Here, we found that noise is the most important factor in forming the seismic facies. Noise is defined as all reflections that cannot be ascribed directly to the reservoir model. Effects from overburden and processing dominated, and the low-frequency content of the seismic section complicated the seismic facies analyses. The main reason for this is that the analysis relies heavily on identified internal patterns and low-angle terminations. Such patterns and terminations are easily created by the seismic method itself, by overburden effects, and by artifacts generated when processing the data. External form, strong amplitudes, and continuous reflections are robust seismic observations, whereas the internal pattern and terminations are commonly deceptive. Identification of boundaries based on predefined patterns of terminations does not work here, and uncritical use of seismic facies analysis in this interpretation case will create wrong reservoir models. Because of the size of the outcrops, the results from this analysis are relevant for reservoir-scale seismic interpretation and detailed interpretation for prospect evaluation in mature basins. For seismic interpretation at a more regional scale, it is probably less relevant.

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