N466 Wilcox Stratigraphy and Sedimentology, Onshore to Deep Water (Texas, USA)

Course Facts

Course Code:
3 days
Physical Demand:
3.2 Continuing Education Units
32 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


This course examines the sedimentology and stratigraphy of Wilcox Group (Paleocene) outcrops in Central Texas, representing deltaic and shallow marine paleoenvironments. It will also investigate Wilcox Group strata in cores which have been interpreted as shelf edge deltas, as well as core from the deep water. These together provide a link in source-to-sink relationships from hinterland sediment source areas to deep water Wilcox Group reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico. The course will allow for the examination and distinction of these different paleoenvironments, and further provide a chrono- and sequence stratigraphic context in which to place and characterize deep water Wilcox Group reservoirs.

Duration and Training Method

 This three-day course is comprised of field work (40%) and classroom lectures/core workshop (60%). Every field stop includes an overview and short lecture of the key concepts and methods discussed in lectures and reinforced in the core workshop.

Participants will learn to:
  • Characterize source-to-sink controls on deep water systems, investigating updip sources and shelf edge deltas, and bypass.
  • Examine outcrop/updip Wilcox stratigraphy in Central Texas, understand temporal relationships, links from sediment source areas, shelf-edge deltaic reservoirs to deep water turbidite reservoirs, and implications for static and dynamic reservoir models.
  • Analyze and understand sedimentological features and interpret depositional environments associated with tidally influenced deltas of Wilcox updip strata.
  • Compare published accounts with field observations and evaluate their validity.
  • Apply lessons learned to better understand deep water Wilcox stratigraphy.
  • Evaluate the stratigraphic evolution of lithology and thickness distributions of fluvial and shallow water systems, and how they may relate to deep water.
  Day One (Austin: UT-BEG Classroom)
  • Understanding the significance of the Wilcox in the deep water and outcrop equivalents in central Texas
  • Historical understanding of onshore and offshore Paleogene stratigraphy
  • Sequence stratigraphic and bio/chronostratigraphic overview of the Wilcox onshore in central Texas
  • Wilcox shelf-edge deltas
  • Lunch included

 Day Two AM:

  • Drive from Austin to Bastrop (Tahitian Village, banks of the Colorado River)
  • Copperas Creek outcrop, Colorado River: Sabinetown and Carrizo formations (uppermost Paleocene-lowermost Eocene: PETM interval locality)
  • Red Bluff outcrop, Colorado River: Sabinetown Formation (uppermost Paleocene)
  • Lunch along the banks of the Colorado River

 Day Two PM:

  • Riverside Golf Course outcrop: Sabinetown/Carrizo formations (PETM interval locality)
  • Manawianui Drive outcrop (Sabinetown/Carrizo formations (PETM interval locality)
  • Drive back to Austin


 Day Three

  • Austin UT-BEG Core Workshop all-day: Wilcox shelf-edge delta cores. Presentations by UT-BEG staff on core-based examples of shelf-edge deltas in the subsurface of Central and South Texas, followed by examination of cores illustrating wave/storm and tidal settings.
  • Lunch included.

To view some of the Wilcox outcrops using drone imagery, please click on the following links:



Who should attend

 The course is relevant to all subsurface geoscientists who wish to broaden and deepen their knowledge of deltaic and shelf clastic stratigraphy and sedimentology, and engineers who wish to understand the different characteristics of deltaic and shelf sandstone reservoirs.

Prerequisites and linking courses

Participants should understand the fundamental processes and terminology of sedimentology (and perhaps sequence stratigraphy) before attending this class, as covered in N155 (Introduction to Clastic Depositional Systems: A Petroleum Perspective).

Several other field and classroom courses address sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy, and deltaic and deepwater clastic depositional systems, including N451 (Practical Oil-Finders Guide to Siliciclastic Sequence Stratigraphy (Wyoming)), N042 (Reservoir Sedimentology and Stratigraphy of Coastal and Shelfal Successions: Deltas, Shorelines and Origins of Isolated Sandstones (NW Colorado, USA)), N410 (Sequence Stratigraphy Applied to Exploration and Production), and N442 (Reservoir Architecture of Deep Water Systems (California)).

The physical demands for this class are (MODERATE) according to Nautilus Training Alliance field course grading systems. Participants should anticipate relatively long days in the field with an average of 8-10 hours away from lodging facilities. Attendees must be prepared for short hikes (2-3 km) across relatively rough terrain: the outcrops themselves may be steep. There will also be shallow creeks to cross. Participants may expect elevated temperatures during the day.

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Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Thomas Demchuk

Chris Denison

Jen O'Keefe

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