Abstract

Synthetic transfer zones develop between fault segments that dip in the same direction, with relay ramps connecting the fault blocks separated by the different fault segments. The characteristics of the transfer zones are controlled by the lithology, deformation conditions, and strain magnitude. The Parihaka fault is a northeast–southwest-trending set of three major en echelon faults connected by relay ramps in the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. The structure in the basin is defined by extension during two episodes of deformation between the late Cretaceous and Paleocene and between the late Miocene and recent. To better understand the evolution of a synthetic transfer zone, we studied the geometry and secondary faulting between the individual fault segments in the Parihaka fault system using structural interpretation of 3D seismic data and seismic attributes. This interpretation allows for a unique application of seismic attributes to better study transfer zones. Seismic attributes, such as coherence, dip, and curvature, are effective tools used to understand the detailed geometry and variation in displacement on the individual faults, the nature of secondary faulting along the transfer zones, and the relationship between the faults and drape folds. The seismic characterization of the fault system of Miocene to Pliocene age horizons highlights variations in the degree of faulting, deformation, and growth mechanism associated with different stages of transfer zone development. The coherence, dip, and curvature attributes indicate a direct correlation with structural parameters such as deformation, folding, and breaching of relay ramps. All three attributes enhance the visualization of the major and associated secondary faults and better constrain their tectonic history. The observed correlation between the seismic attributes and structural characteristics of transfer zones can significantly improve the structural interpretation and exploration workflow.

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