Geological analogues may be used to rigorously interpret three-dimensional (3D) subsurface reservoir geometry by combining the capabilities of graphics workstations with digital outcrop data collection. Digital data from sedimentary environments and outcropping geological formations are interpreted in a 3D viewing environment to construct 3D templates of analogues for reservoir bodies. These 3D geometries and associated scaling parameters are then available to build 3D digital hypotheses concerning subsurface reservoir geometries.
Two examples serve to illustrate this approach. Data from a modern fluvial system in the USA are used to construct digital templates. Interpretation of this dataset enables the relationship between 3D external geometries of sedimentary units to be rigorously defined and related to internal sedimentary structures. The location of gas-filled reservoir compartments in the Carboniferous Bend Conglomerate reservoirs of the Boonsville Field in North Texas are then interpreted using such analogue-derived digital templates.