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CASE HISTORY 3: Seismic Modeling of an Imbricate Thrust Structure from the Foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Steven Lingrey
Steven Lingrey
Esso Resources Canada Ltd
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January 01, 1991


Seismic structural modeling provides a useful means toward understanding the complex geometry associated with detached-style fold and thrust deformation. Routine seismic methods do not tightly constrain details of structural interpretation, but methods incorporating geometric and seismic modeling allow these details to be inferred. Geometric models measure spatial elements of the folds and faults, and check them for internal consistency, usually against an assumed condition of material balance. Seismic models measure the effects of ray-path bending through a complex, structurally defined velocity field. The seismic model predicts the presence (or absence) of reflections and their pattern on unmigrated sections. These patterns in the modeled data can be checked against the patterns observed in the real data. Iteration between the two models allows the interpretation to converge toward a mutually acceptable solution.

Structural analysis of a seismic profile across the Quirk Creek gas field from the Foothills belt of the Canadian Rocky Mountains is used to illustrate this iterative method of seismic interpretation. The internal geometry of thrust sheets, essentially opaque on the basis of routine examination of a migrated seismic profile, is developed with the aid of geometric and seismic modeling techniques. As with many model-based approaches, proposed solutions in a given geometric or seismic model are nonunique. Used in combination, however, they each check solutions independently and thus can more narrowly constrain the range of acceptable interpretations. The incorporation of synthetic seismic modeling greatly improves the accuracy of interpretation for the structurally complicated Quirk Creek gas field.

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Geophysical Developments Series

Seismic Modeling of Geologic Structures: Applications to Exploration Problems

Stuart W. Fagin
Stuart W. Fagin
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Society of Exploration Geophysicists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1991




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