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Outcrops span a critical gap in both scale and resolution between seismic and well-bore data and can provide the geometric properties required for interpreting reservoir architecture at sub-seismic or flow unit scale. The Lower Permian Skoorsteenberg Formation in Tanqua Karoo basin, South Africa, and the Lower Carboniferous Ross Formation in the Clare basin, western Ireland, both contain sand-rich turbidites deposited in a channelized to unchannelized basin-floor fan setting. Based on detailed characterization, these outcrops can be divided into (i) proximal, (ii) transition from proximal to medial, and (iii) medial fan settings. The most proximal settings are characterized by narrow, erosionally confined, channelized sandbodies. Very broad, compensationally stacked channel complexes dominate the transition from proximal to medial fan settings. The medial fan setting is comprised of extremely broad channels to sheets. Based on seismic, well-log and core data, the Skoorsteenberg and Ross formations have sediment compositions and architectures very similar to many deep water petroleum reservoirs, such as the Diana field in the western Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, net-to-gross, dimensional and architectural data from these outcrops can be used to help assess future exploration prospects and newly discovered fields. Furthermore, the integration of seismic, well-log, core, outcrop data, and forward seismic modeling in fields with similar reservoir characteristics can provide the framework to maximize the architectural controls on petroleum production, development and management.

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