Towards an automated strategy for modelling extensional basins and margins in four dimensions
Nicky White, John Haines, Stephen Jones, Detlef Hanne, 2004. "Towards an automated strategy for modelling extensional basins and margins in four dimensions", 3D Seismic Technology: Application to the Exploration of Sedimentary Basins, Richard J. Davies, Joseph A. Cartwright, Simon A. Stewart, Mark Lappin, John R. Underhill
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There is a need for quantitative models which predict the structural and thermal evolution of sedimentary basins and margins in three dimensions. Although many different, two-dimensional algorithms exist, most of them are forward models which assume that rifting is instantaneous. We outline a three-dimensional optimization strategy which calculates spatial and temporal variations in strain rate. This approach is a generalization of an existing two-dimensional inversion algorithm which already tackles three issues of interest to the hydrocarbon industry. First, the residual misfit between observed and predicted basin geometries allows competing structural and stratigraphic interpretations to be objectively tested. Secondly, the animated evolution of basin and margins can be produced using the strain rate tensor. Thirdly, spatial and temporal variations of strain rate control basal heatflow, which in turn constrains the temperature and maturation histories of the sedimentary pile. Here, we present a small selection of two-dimensional results and show how our three-dimensional formulation is a logical extension of earlier work. A three-dimensional algorithm is under development.