N090 Seismic Structural Styles Workshop

Course Facts

Course Code:
5 days
4.0 Continuing Education Units
40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


This hands-on workshop offers unique treatment of the subject of structural styles, including new concepts and advances in structural geology. It introduces the underlying conceptual and experimental models behind structural interpretation and then builds interpretation skills by applying the models to increasingly complex or poorly imaged seismic data. Topics include interpretation of extensional, compressional, strike-slip, inversion, gravity-driven systems, igneous events and salt and shale structures.

Duration and Training Method

This is a highly interactive and participatory five-day classroom course oriented towards problem solving rather than theory. It contains short lectures interspersed with seismic interpretations exercises, discussions, and experimental models. Participants are encourage to bring samples of problem data for group discussion.

Participants will learn to:

  1. Use structural analysis tools such as regional elevation, recognizing growth layers, fault-fold relationships, rigid body and internal deformation, recognizing detachments and ductile layers to constrain interpretations.
  2. Demonstrate common pitfalls in structural interpretation.
  3. Understand the impact of detachments and ductile layers on structural styles.
  4. Explain the theoretical and empirical basis for structural models of extension, compression, strike-slip, inversion, salt and shale deformation.
  5. Distinguish key differences in structural styles.
  6. Apply lessons learned about structural styles to both good and poor data.
  7. Apply the concepts of restoration and forward modelling and employ them in interpretation.
  8. Analyze pre-existing structural interpretations.
  9. Interpret gravity driven systems, along with intrusive and extrusive igneous events in seismic data.

Classroom discussions focus on evaluating seismic data that deviate from idealized models and how and when to apply simple structural models. Exercises, physical models and lectures focus on  how to best delineate structures, determine timing, and evaluate exploration risk.

Basic Structural Tools

  • Vertical Exaggeration
  • Recognizing Ductile Layers and Detachments
  • Packaging Tectonic-Lithic Events
  • Translation and Rotation
  • Introduction to Internal Deformation, Forward Modeling, and Restoration
  • Regional Elevation
  • Recognizing and Predicting Growth Layers

Extensional Structures

Compressional Structures

Strike-Slip Structures

Inversion Structures

Salt Structures

Shale Structures

Linked Extensional and Compressional Systems

Igneous Events

Who should attend

This course is appropriate for both early-career and experienced geoscientists. They should be familiar with basic interpretation methodology at least college-level structural geology.

The course incorporates new ideas in structural geology and so will also benefit the more experienced interpreter who is working in a new structural regime or who desires a refresher course that covers recent developments in structural geology.

Prerequisites and linking courses

There are no prerequisites for this course, however it is assumed that participants have a good grasp of basic structural geology and sedimentology principles and terminology and know the basics of seismic interpretation. The course will best suit geologists and geophysicists who have at least one year experience of interpreting seismic data and a basic understanding of geophysics and seismic interpretation. A good foundation for this class is N085 (Introduction to Seismic Interpretation).

Related Basic Application Level classes include: N005 (Tectonic Controls on Basin Development and Petroleum Systems) which focuses on integrating sedimentation with stratigraphic architecture and basin dynamics using modern and ancient examples; N138 (Structural  Interpretation in Petroleum Exploration and Development) which describes the trap types encountered in various structural settings; N240 (Seismic Interpretation Workshop - Exploration to Early Field Development) in which participants work through the first half of a field’s lifecycle. At Skilled Application level, N288 (Interpretation of Seismic Data in Structurally Complex Settings) addresses similar topics but is intended for experienced staff.

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Gloria Eisenstadt

Related Subjects

This is an excellent course! My understanding of seismic structural styles has increased 10-fold this week alone! Very enjoyable classroom climate & exercises.