D527 Interpretation of Complex Structures: Techniques for Unraveling Structural Geometry and History

Course Facts

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


Business Impact: Correctly evaluating both the timing of trap formation and the corresponding burial history are essential to building a portfolio of drillable prospects and assessing risk.

This is a hands-on workshop that is focused on interpretation techniques for complex 2D and 3D seismic data. Many exploration areas have undergone multiple periods and directions of deformation and often misinterpreted. 2D and 3D seismic data in complex areas present very different problems for the interpreter. 2D seismic data sets are less time consuming to interpret but usually there are not enough data to constrain theinterpretation. Complexly deformed 3D datasets can present a different challenge, as the frequency and complexity of the faulting can be overwhelming. In both cases, experience in unraveling, multiple deformations, evaluating confusing map patterns, evaluating results from auto-fault picking and machine learning, and knowing best practice use of seismic attributes for structural interpretation is essential.

Duration and Training Method

This highly interactive virtual classroom course, divided into 6 webinar sessions (equivalent to a three-day classroom course), is oriented towards problem solving rather than theory. It contains short lectures interspersed with seismic interpretation exercises, discussions and experimental models. All remote participants are required to have and use both a camera and microphone, and need to be willing to be an active participant. The ratio of exercises to lectures is 80:20. Enrollment is limited to 15 participants.

Participants will learn to:
  1. Analyze data and select an appropriate structural analysis workflow for interpreting a data set.
  2. Understand the possible causes for complex structures and know how to use structural analysis tools such as regional elevation, recognizing growth layers, fault-fold relationships, recognizing detachments and ductile layers to constrain interpretation.
  3. Understand the theoretical and experimental basis for structural models and understand the impact of detachments and ductile layers on structural style.
  4. Learn how to differentiate strike-slip deformation from multiple deformation events.
  5. Understand the concepts of restoration and forward modelling and employ them to diagnose interpretation errors.
  6. Analyze the use of curvature analysis and coherence as a proxy for fault mapping.
  7. Analyze pre-existing structural interpretations

Structural interpretation topics covered will include:

  • Structural analysis work flow – how to determine the best way to approach each data set
  • Quick restoration techniques to diagnose interpretation errors
  • Differentiating strike-slip deformation from oblique reactivation of basement faults or inversion
  • Recognizing map patterns of reactivated structures
  • How useful are traditional fault analysis tools in areas of multiple deformations?
  • Do older faults always get reactivated?
  • Is lineament analysis useful?
  • Use of growth stratigraphy to determine timing of each deformation event
  • Use of curvature analysis and coherence as a proxy for fault mapping
  • How ductile layers change patterns of fault reactivation

Who should attend

This course is designed for the experienced interpreter working with complex data but could be applicable for geoscientists with a minimum of four to five years’ experience interpreting seismic data and at least a college-level course in structural geology.

Prerequisites and linking courses

This course is designed as a Skilled-Level follow-on to Foundation-Level N090 (Seismic Structural Styles Workshop). A basic knowledge of seismic interpretation is assumed, as presented in N085 (Introduction to Seismic Interpretation).

Geoscientists taking this course may also wish to consider field courses on the Structure and Tectonics portfolio, such as N053 Compressional Structural Styles: Models for Exploration and Production (Alberta, Canada).

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Gloria Eisenstadt

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