Numerical Outcrop Geology Applied to Stratigraphical Modeling of Ancient Carbonate Platforms: The Lower Cretaceous Vercors Carbonate Platform (Se France)
Rémy Richet, Jean Borgomano, Erwin W. Adams, Jean-Pierre Masse, Sophie Viseur, 2011. "Numerical Outcrop Geology Applied to Stratigraphical Modeling of Ancient Carbonate Platforms: The Lower Cretaceous Vercors Carbonate Platform (Se France)", Outcrops Revitalized: Tools, Techniques and Applications, Ole J. Martinsen, Andrew J. Pulham, Peter D.W. Haughton, Morgan D. Sullivan
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Carbonate platforms can have complex internal facies variations and stratal geometries expressed at length scales longer than all but the largest outcrops. The latter commonly form high and relatively inaccessible cliffs, and thus conventional field techniques (logging and photomontages) may not adequately capture the 3D geometry of surfaces and the details of the facies distribution. Because facies and stratal geometry control rock properties and connectivity in carbonate reservoirs, accurate outcrop data can be critical to reservoir and forward seismic modeling. The Gresse-en-Vercors cliffs (southeastern France) provide a seismic-scale slice though a Lower Cretaceous (Barremian) platform margin analogous to Lower Cretaceous reservoirs in the Middle East. The cliffs are 500 m high and extend for 25 km along depositional dip, straddling the transition from shallow-water platform to deeper basin. This paper describes the methodology developed to create a high-resolution stratigraphical digital outcrop model (DOM) integrating field measurements (logged sections, facies mapping) and high-resolution digital data (photomosaic and new LIDAR data acquired by a helicopter survey). Integration of the LIDAR and other point cloud data provide a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) on which georeferenced field observations were then posted. The “solid image” technique was used to extract precise x,y,z coordinates of stratigraphic surfaces from the DEM. The resulting numerical geological model allows a coherent restoration of the platform architecture, quantification of component surfaces (shape, angles, dimensions) and geobodies, and a better characterization of the relationship between facies and platform architecture
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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.