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Resolving the geological details hidden beneath the resolution of seismic reflection data has been a continuing challenge for decades. Forward seismic modeling of outcrop analogues provides an important scale link between the architectural geometries observed in outcrops and in seismic. Such models can potentially bridge the critical gap in resolution between datasets and provide new and improved insight to the interpretation of petroleum targets.

The use of outcrop analogues can produce realistic models where petrophysical properties, lithology distribution, and reservoir architecture are all defined. The synthetic seismic model is compared with subsurface seismic data and adjusted to find the earth model that gives a seismic response that matches the real seismic amplitudes. A four-step workflow on how to build seismic models of outcrops is suggested and detailed in this paper. Information regarding how to construct high-resolution, complex, geologically realistic architectural elements such as mass-transport complexes is also described.

Analysis of outcrop synthetic seismic has enabled us to study and understand the anticipated seismic character and imaging of depositional systems at different scales. Seismic models reveal the expected seismic architecture and character of similar geobodies and basin-fill sequences. They also increase the ability to predict hydrocarbon-bearing rocks in unexplored basins. Seismic interpretations of subsurface targets in both Angola and in the Gulf of Mexico have been quality controlled using this technique. This research contributes to better constraints on lithology predictions, fluid response, and geometry distribution in these areas.

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