We analyzed a synthetic transfer zone and its associated fault planes and relay ramp in Penobscot, a potential offshore field in the Scotian Basin. Transfer zones are structural areas where one fault dies out and another fault begins, forming a relay ramp in the middle. They can be categorized as divergent, convergent, and synthetic transfer zones depending on the relative location and dipping directions of the faults. These zones not only play an important role in fluid migration but also help interpreters delineate secondary features such as fractures, splay shears, and Riedel faults. Commonly, those faults would branch into smaller splays and the relay ramp can get “breached” with connecting faults with the increase of slip. The study area in the Scotian Basin is characterized by two major listric normal faults dipping in the same direction giving rise to a synthetic transfer zone. These faults are clearly visible on seismic attributes, including curvature and coherence slices extracted along the top of the Cretaceous Petrel Formation. However, when analyzing the seismic attributes along the overlying Wyandot Formation’s top, we observe channel-like features, which run parallel as well as at an angle to these faults. However, when we performed further analysis using seismic amplitude’s vertical slices, interpreted horizons, and seismic attributes, we found that these features are not channels. We divided the features into two types: The first type is parallel to the main faults and can be associated with the grabens formed by synthetic and antithetic secondary faults (northeast–southwest); the second type is related to the polygonal faulting associated with differential compaction and gravitational loading of the Wyandot Chalk Formation. Apart from the two lineations, there are north-northeast–south-southwest-oriented lineations, which are an impression of basement faulting, and north-northwest–south-southeast-oriented lineations representing the acquisition footprint.

  • Geological feature:

    Synthetic and antithetic faults in a synthetic transfer zone

  • Seismic appearance:

    Channel-like feature on seismic attribute horizon slices

  • Alternative interpretations:


  • Features with similar appearance:

    Steep slope channels

  • Formation:


  • Age:

    Late Cretaceous

  • Location:

    Penobscot, Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Seismic data:

    Open-source SEG

  • Analysis tools:

    Coherence and curvature attributes

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