W030 Chalk - a Geology and Geophysics Workshop

Course Facts

Course Code:
3 days
Virtual Classroom
2.4 Continuing Education Units
24 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


Business Impact: Chalk is a famously unique porous media. Hydrocarbon reservoirs and aquifers benefit from their high porosity; However, their low permeability can be a challenge to resource extraction efforts. Participants on this course will be able to draw on their newly aquired understanding of chalk's unique features and challenges to add value to subsurface projects across the E&P life-cycle.

This workshop provides deep knowledge on the depositional, remobilisation, and diagenetic history of chalks through the lens of both geology and geophysics. Subsurface and field examples from the North Sea, onshore France and England, and Texas are shown to demonstrate the natural variability that exists in chalk sedimentology and structure.

Duration and Training Method

A virtual classroom course divided into 5 webinar sessions (equivalent to a three-day classroom course), comprising lectures, discussion, case studies, and practical exercises to be completed by participants during and between sessions.

Participants will learn how to:
  1. Understand the fundamental processes that controlled the distribution of chalks and marls, including aridity/humidity patterns and the broader significance of paleoclimate.
  2. Apply sequence stratigraphy to core, well log, and seismic interpretations.
  3. Understand basic geochemical pathways that lead to precipitation of silica and carbonate cements and why these are important diagenetic processes controlling reservoir quality.
  4. Appreciate the effects of lithology, burial depth, and diagenesis on different chalk facies in diverse settings.
  5. Recognise the similarities and differences between facies, sequence architecture, and diagenesis in different chalk systems.
  6. Examine how structural deformation of chalk affects fracture permeability.

The following proposed itinerary is intended as a guide.

Session 01

  • The Cretaceous world; paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic controls on chalk distribution
  • Alpha to Omega; the commencement and termination of chalk sedimentation
  • Stratigraphical architecture of chalks; controls by sea-level and deep currents

Session 02

  • Sedimentary processes controlling chalk deposition
  • The significance of bedding style in chalks
  • High resolution correlation of chalk successions

Session 03

  • Chalk diagenesis: an overview
  • Chalks as reservoirs: the major controls on reservoir quality
  • Chalk depositional systems: comparison of North Sea, Anglo-Paris Basin, and Austin chalks.

Session 04

  • Rock physics of chalk

Session 05

  • Seismic geomorphology of chalks
  • Seismic interpretation of in-situ versus remobilised chalks
  • Seismic-scale diagenesis concepts

Who should attend

The course is aimed at all geoscientists who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding of chalk sedimentology, stratigraphy, and diagenesis.

Prerequisites and linking courses

While there are no formal prerequesties for this course, a basic knowledge of the fundamental sedimentological processes and petroleum systems is expected.

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Andy Gale

Alessandro Sandrin