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.
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A ‘new age’ of subsurface geological mapping that is just as far ranging in scope as the frontier source geological mapping campaigns of the past two centuries in emerging. It is the direct result of the advent of 2D, and subsequently 3D, seismic data paralleled by advances in seismic acquisition and processing over the past three decades. Subsurface mapping is fuelled by the economic drive to explore and recover hydrocarbons but inevitably it will lead to major conceptual advances in Earth sciences, across a broader range of disciplines than those made during the 2D seismic revolution of the 1970s. Now that 3D seismic data coverage has increased and the technology is widely available we are poised to mine the full intellectual and economic benefits. This book illustrates how 3D seismic technology is being used to understand depositional systems and stratigraphy, structural and igneous geology, in developing and producing from hydrocarbon reservoirs and also what recent technological advances have been made. This technological journey is a fast-moving one where the remaining scientific potential still far exceeds the scope of the advances made thus far. This book explores the breadth of the opportunities that lie ahead as well as the inevitable accompanying challeges.