Sequence Stratigraphy Past, Present and Future, and the Role of 3-D Seismic Data
Henry W. Posamentier, 2002. "Sequence Stratigraphy Past, Present and Future, and the Role of 3-D Seismic Data", Sequence Stratigraphic Models for Exploration and Production: Evolving Methodology, Emerging Models and Application Histories, John M. Armentrout, Norman C. Rosen
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In the twenty-five years since the landmark publication of AAPG Memoir 26 and later, SEPM Special Publication 42, the concepts of sequence stratigraphy have evolved rapidly. This discipline, an outgrowth of seismic stratigraphy, has spread far beyond applications to 2-D seismic data alone. Sequence stratigraphy has seen applications embracing data sets ranging from biostratigraphic to geochemical to physical oceanographic, and from borehole to outcrop, and finally, coming full cycle, to 3-D seismic data. Initially the domain of industry geoscientists, sequence stratigraphy has gained widespread acceptance among geoscientists in all professions, having been recognized as an approach that facilitates integration of a broad range of disciplines.
The evolution of sequence stratigraphic concepts is far from complete. In particular, recent increased availability of high-quality 3-D seismic coverage promises to provide insights that will lead to further fine tuning of sequence concepts. In addition to enhanced 2-D profiles, 3-D seismic data afford exceptional plan views of the subsurface that in the past could only be inferred. These plan view images now comprise a fundamental starting point from which geologic analyses and interpretation can begin. Such images depict paleo-landscapes, which can be analyzed using time-honored principles of geomorphology, leading to the development of the discipline of seismic geomorphology. When used in conjunction with seismic stratigraphy, seismic geomorphology can significantly enhance sequence stratigraphic interpretations.
The identification of depositional elements such as channels, valleys, shore faces, shelf ridges, etc., in plan view, can be integrated with seismic stratigraphic analyses of associated seismic profiles to calibrate profile reflection patterns and refine analyses of basin fill histories. Systematic seismic geomorphologic analysis of 3-D seismic volumes can bring to light spatial and temporal relationships of successive depositional systems. Moreover, recognition of these systems and analyses of their succession can help in the identification of possible missing facies tracts. This approach, coupled with direct and indirect recognition of unconformities, comprises an integral aspect of sequence stratigraphic interpretation.