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Seismic acquisition and processing imposes a spatial filter on the resolution of subsurface stratigraphy. In deep water settings, we recognize four orders of seismic and several orders of sub-seismic stratigraphy. Individual deep water sandstone bodies are usually resolvable on conventional 6-60 Hz seismic data as an amalgam of seismic loops or wavelets (fourth-order seismic). Upon closer inspection, units within many of these sandstone bodies display an internal architecture resulting from depositional topography and various small-scale erosional processes. Internal (first- and second-order sub-seismic) reservoir architecture is locally seen on seismic data as changes in waveform morphology and develops from episodes of starvation, bypass, and/or erosion. These processes produce surfaces that may pass from the tops to the bases of reservoir units. The surfaces influence bed-length and connectivity, especially where draped by mudstone. Classical depositional models usually focus on external reservoir architecture, thereby failing to fully explain reservoir compartmentalization as a control on hydrocarbon recovery.

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