ABSTRACT

The Devonian Grosmont Formation in northeastern Alberta, Canada, is the world’s largest accumulation of heavy oil in carbonate rock with estimated bitumen in place of 64.5×109m3. Much of the reservoir unconformably subcrops beneath Cretaceous sediments. This is an eroded surface modified by kartstification known as the Sub-Mannville Unconformity (SMU). We studied the reanalysis and integration of legacy seismic data sets obtained in the mid-1980s to investigate the structure of this surface. Standard data processing was carried out supplemented by some more modern approaches to noise reduction. The interpretation of these reprocessed data resulted in some key structural maps above and below the SMU. These seismic maps revealed substantially more detail than those constructed solely on the basis of well-log data; in fact, the use of only well-log information would likely result in erroneous interpretations. Although features smaller than about 40 m in radius cannot be easily discerned at the SMU due to wavefield and data sampling limits, the data did reveal the existence of a roughly east–west-trending ridge-valley system. A more minor northeast–southwest-trending linear valley also was apparent. These observations are all consistent with the model of a karsted/eroded carbonate surface. Comparison of the maps for the differing horizons further suggested that deeper horizons may influence the structure of the SMU and even the overlying Mesozoic formations. This suggested that some displacements due to karst cavity collapse or minor faulting within the Grosmont occurred during or after deposition of the younger Mesozoic sediments on top of the Grosmont surface.

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