Abstract

Two Devonian salts of western Canada, those of the Black Creek member (Upper Elk Point subgroup) in northwest Alberta and those of the Wabamun group in southeastern Alberta, were widely distributed and uniformly deposited within their respective basins. Both of these salts are interbedded within predominantly carbonate sequences and both have been extensively leached. They are now preserved as discontinuous remnants of variable thickness and areal extent.These salt remnants and their associated collapse features are often associated with structural or stratigraphic traps. Structural traps typically form where reservoir facies are closed across remnant salts, stratigraphic traps often develop where reservoir facies were either preferentially deposited and/or preserved in salt collapse lows. As a result of these relationships between dissolution and hydrocarbon entrapment, the distribution (areal extent and thick-ness) of these salt remnants is of significant interest to the explorationist.Both the Black Creek and Wabamun salts have relatively abrupt contacts with the encasing higher velocity, higher density carbonates. Where these salts are sufficiently thick, their top and base typically generate high amplitude reflections, and lateral variations in the salt isopach can be directly determined from the seismic data. Relative salt thicknesses can also be indirectly estimated through analyses of lateral variations in the thicknesses of the encompassing carbonates, time structural drape and velocity pullup. Such seismic information about the thickness and the extent of these salts should be used together with well log control to generate subsurface distribution maps. These maps will facilitate both the delineation of prospective structural and stratigraphic play fairways and the determination of the timing of salt dissolution. In addition, an appreciation of regional salt distribution will decrease the likelihood that remnant salts will be misinterpreted as either reefs and/or faulted structures.

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