N041 Extensional Tectonics and Normal Fault Patterns (Utah, USA)
N041 Extensional Tectonics and Normal Fault Patterns (Utah, USA)
This course is a field, lecture and practical based investigation of extensional tectonics and normal fault patterns in the northern Paradox Basin, SE Utah, aimed at both geoscientists and engineers. Participants examine the superbly exposed, salt-detached, fault and relay ramp structures of the northern Paradox Basin and the Moab Fault system. Comparisons with subsurface analogues will be made throughout the course, and implications for trap development and reservoir compartmentalization discussed. Incorrect mapping of linked fault systems is common across the petroleum industry, from regional scale exploration to detailed, development scale fault mapping. In a workstation driven environment faults are often only interpreted as simple sticks on vertical seismic profiles, with scant regard for there geometry and complexity in 3D. This course aims to improve understanding of linkage within normal fault systems through analysis of world-class examples of relay and breached really ramps. Participants can then integrate these field-based models into their subsurface interpretations, thereby increasing their chances for exploration success and decreasing chances of unpleasant surprises during development drilling.
A seven-day field course in Moab, Utah, USA, with the proportion of field to classroom approximately 70:30.
The course is a combination of lectures, practicals using seismic data and analysis of field examples. Field time in the excellent outcrops of SE Utah will be maximised. Course materials will include a classroom manual and field guide along with a number of seismic lines and paper exercises. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own data for discussion.
Participants will learn to:
The focus of the course will be on the structural development of extensional basins and controls on stratigraphic sequences that develop in rifts. We will examine the causes of crustal extension and the mechanisms, geometries, scale and growth of normal faults. Rift basin models and the effects of fault evolution on depocentre and stratigraphic development are addressed in detail. Instruction at outcrop, with field and practical exercises complements the theoretical background presented in classroom lectures.
Below is a provisional course itinerary, this may vary depending on prevailing weather conditions.
Participants arrive in Grand Junction
Drive from Grand Junction to Moab with overview stops on route (Dead Horse Point - Overview of Canyonlands stratigraphy and the seismic scale of basin structures).
Morning field excursion – examination of the structure of the Spanish Valley-Moab area. Afternoon lectures - introduction to course lectures and practicals, mechanisms of faulting, relay ramp development and evolution rift basin models, geometry of extensional faults, seismic interpretation of normal faults, Fault interpretation and correlation exercises.
Field work all day – examination of the structure of the Moab Fault zone using transects of the fault to study fault zone geometry, relay ramp and breached relay ramp geometries, associated structures and variation in fault rocks. Discussion of fault seal attributes of the Moab fault zone, fluid flow across the fault.
All day classroom lectures covering topics including, normal fault population analysis, predicting faults below seismic resolution and map view geometry of normal fault arrays. Upscaling of field examples to discuss the development of stratigraphic sequences in rift basins using the Gulf of Suez as a type example. There will be some free time in the afternoon for participants to explore the Moab area.
An early start allows a full day in the Canyonlands Grabens system, Canyonlands National Park for a detailed analysis of relay ramps, breached relay ramps, and the control of fault growth on drainage patterns and sedimentation.
A late morning start after the long Canyonlands day with the rest of the day spent on a field excursion to Arches National Park to study small scale deformation in sandstone reservoirs, reservoir compartmentalisation, hangingwall rollover geometries, relay ramp deformation concluding with a hike to Delicate Arch for sunset.
Morning overflight of the Canyonlands Grabens, Moab Fault and Arches National Park. Course wrap up. Drive from Moab to Grand Junction with lunch and several easy field stops on the way. End of course dinner.
Participants Fly Home.
This course is multi-disciplinary and designed for: (i) exploration and development geologists and geophysicists concerned with the exploration and exploitation of clastic reservoirs in extensional settings (ii) reservoir and production engineers seeking more information about compartmentalization and fluid-flow in relay ramp settings and (iii) asset managers responsible for exploitation of clastic reservoirs in rift basins world-wide.
It is assumed that participants have a basic knowledge of structural geology and sedimentology before attending this course. A solid structural geology foundation is provided by Nautilus Training Alliance class N016 (Structural Geology for Petroleum Exploration, Nevada). Courses N144: The Corinth Rift: Normal Faults, Tectonics and Stratigraphic Architecture (Gulf of Corinth, Greece), N202: Charaterising Continental Rift Infills: Depositional Analysis and Extensional Development of theTriassic Fundy Basin (Nova Scotia, Canada), N333: Factors Affecting Rift-Basin and Passive Margin Evolution: Examples from the Fundy and Orpheus Basins (Nova Scotia, Canada) and N407: Predicting Reservoir and Petroleum Systems in Rifts and Extensional Basins (New Mexico and Colorado, USA), cover tectonics and sedimentation rift systems.
The physical demands for this class are MODERATE according to the Nautilus Training Alliance field course grading system. This is primarily due to the altitude (4,000-4,500ft/1000-1200m) and prevailing hot and dry conditions in the field area. There are 3 hikes on this class up to 3 miles/5km in length with up to 660 feet/200m of elevation gain. The remainder of the field stops involve walking a few hundred yards/metres with little significant elevation gain. One day involves a long and tiring drive into Canyonlands National Park, conditions are typically hot, and the ride can be uncomfortable in the specialist Jeeps hired for the purpose. On this day the group is expected to be out for around 14-15 hours.
Click on a name to learn more about the instructor
Bruce Trudgill has industry experience with Amerada Hess UK Ltd., and has worked on a number of industry funded research projects, both at Imperial College (1992-1994), and the University of Colorado at Boulder (1994-2000). His research interests cover the broad theme of structural controls on depositional systems, and he has published papers on salt tectonics, rift systems and inversion tectonics. His research combines interpreting 3D seismic data with field studies, particularly in the Paradox Basin in SE Utah. He returned to Colorado from teaching at Imperial College (2000-2003), and is currently an Associate Professor at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. He has served as an AAPG Associate Editor (2000-2005) and is co-editor of the AAPG Bulletin Special Issue on the Structure and Stratigraphy of Rift Systems (June, 2002).
Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Imperial College, London - Basin Inversion
BSc University of Wales, Aberystwyth - Geology
AAPG Associate Editor (2000-2005)
AAPG Bulletin Co editor - Special Issue “Structure and Stratigraphy of Rift Systems” (June 2002)
N041: Extensional Tectonics & Normal Fault Patterns (Utah, USA)
N163: Salt Evolution and Coeval Sedimentation in the Paradox Basin (Utah, USA)
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