Tools and Techniques
The ultimate goal of collecting outcrop data is to be able to understand the underlying physical controls on the formation of the rock record, and these techniques provide an essential step in the right direction towards this goal. In particular, development of new techniques for acquiring data from outcrops has led to an ongoing evolution in how outcrop data can be analyzed and utilized in the petroleum industry. Understanding which technique to use depends strongly on the problem being addressed, as the choice of techniques provides different cost-benefit outcomes to different problems. The key to adopting these techniques successfully is to understand their limitations and where the successes have been in applying them. This brief review defines the problems being addressed in collecting outcrop data, examines the role of the “digital” geologist and the collection, application, and deployment of three-dimensional data, and the future of outcrop studies. Reference is made to case studies described in other contributions in this volume.
Figures & Tables
Outcrops are fundamental to everything we hope to achieve in geological understanding. They are gateways to geological processes, earth history and they help ground-truth remote sensing applications. With increasing resolution of subsurface tools and techniques, one could be forgiven in believing that outcrops have had their day and their utility is less than in the past great eras of field mapping and the development of facies models. This premise is far from the truth and this new SEPM volume illustrates how new analytical techniques are revitalizing outcrops and in the process creating a wealth of new data and fresh geological understandings. In this book you will find a compilation of the growing arsenal of outcrop tools and techniques and a consideration of future developments. This collection of papers, delivered at a SEPM Research Conference on the West coast of Ireland in the summer of 2008, is a smorgasbord of case studies, workflows, modeling, and applications which spans clastic and carbonate settings. Whatever your interest in outcrop geology and its application there is something in this volume for you. If you are seeking guidance for using new outcrop tools, looking for efficiencies in data collection or desiring new insights for old and favorite outcrops, this volume is a must have. This volume also makes an excellent reference or textbook for any group of professionals or students working or studying the new technologies that have allowed new insights from outcrops. We also consider this a superbly timed publication because many new outcrop tools are now becoming mainstream via reduced purchase and operating costs. Once you read this volume, and there are reduced prices for SEPM members and students, please share your new experiences with the authors and editors and help continue the revitalization of our shared and continually surprising outcrop library of the earth.