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Carbonate Systems and Reservoir Characterization and Unconventional Reservoirs

Carbonate depositional environments are inherently heterogeneous because of the superposition of sedimentary and diagenetic processes during successions of relative sea level changes. Projects in the modern environment use a combination of various types of remote sensing data and surface samples to capture the spatial trend metrics of sedimentary bodies. Surface samples from northwestern Great Bahama Bank are intended to refine the facies maps of this classic modern platform system.


Understanding flow, compartmentalization and mineralization in reservoirs depends on knowledge of the 3-D architecture of sedimentary structure and fracture network in the rock volume around the borehole. Several of our projects aim to increase our understanding of the lateral and vertical heterogeneity of facies and fractures. To achieve this goal, we have developed a new generation of 3-D Ground Penetrating Radar to retrieve the sub-meter scale variability of facies and flow units from Pleistocene grainstone shoals in the Miami Oolite and for fractures in several locations around the world. Seismic data from various regions are used to examine the evolution of carbonate systems in different tectonic settings and assess the influence of tectonic activity, sea level changes and sediment supply on the carbonate depositional system. Currently, we study seismic data from the Bahamas-Cuba foreland basin to decipher carbonate platform drowning as a result of increased subsidence during the formation of this foreland basin, and to delineate the evolution of the Gulf Stream from sediment drifts in the Bahamas region.


Reservoir heterogeneities and the large-scale distribution of reservoir quality dolomite have been the focus of projects in the Mississippian Madison Formation. Currently we are assessing the dolomitization processes in the Madison Formation and the correlation of the dynamics of the evolving foreland basin on the evolution of these ramp carbonates. In addition, we continue our research in relating mechanical stratigraphy to sequence stratigraphy. These projects will provide us with a methodology to predict to a certain degree the fractures from facies and stratigraphic information.

 

Current Projects



ENHANCED OUTCROP TO THE SUBSURFACE CORRELATION IN THE VACA MUERTA FORMATION

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Investigators: Taury Smith, Ralf J. Weger, and Gregor P. Eberli

Project Objectives

  • Tie the outcrop to the subsurface based on the composition in thin sections and cuttings from 20 wells and outcrop sections across the basin.
  • Evaluate the similarities and differences of compositional variations in the sequences and cycles to capture the lateral and vertical facies variability within the Vaca-Muerta Formation.
  • Provide a (semi)quantitative comparison of facies similarities in the outcrop and subsurface.

 



     

VARIABILITY WITHIN A TARGET ZONE ANALOG OF THE VACA MUERTA FORMATION, ARGENTINA

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Investigators: Ralf J. Weger, Leticia Rodriguez Blanco, Peter K. Swart, and Gregor P. Eberli

Project Objectives:

  • Evaluate lateral heterogeneities of potential landing zones.
  • Document the lateral variability along 2 km of outcrop in TOC-rich intervals as analogs for variability encountered during horizontal drilling.
  • Illustrate heterogeneity using regularly-spaced, short (20-30 m) vertical sections along a scan line.


     

SEDIMENT BUDGET OF THE GREAT BAHAMA BANK - PRODUCTION AND TRANSPORT

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Investigators: Cecilia Lopez-Gamundi, Gregor P. Eberli, Thomas Dobbelaere, Emmanuel Hanert, Paul (Mitch) Harris, and Sam Purkis

Project Objectives:

  • To conduct a GBB-wide sediment budget analysis and reconcile sediment production with sediment accumulation.
  • To assess the influence of hydrodynamics on sedimentary facies distribution and on and off-platform sediment transport.
  • To quantify the importance of uniformitarian versus catastrophic (storm) events on the sedimentary processes of GBB.

 



     

WHITINGS PROJECT PART 1: MACHINE LEARNING AND THE LONG- TERM WHITINGS RECORD

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Investigators: Sam Purkis, Amanda M. Oehlert, Heather Hunter, Peter K. Swart, Thomas Dobbelaere, Emmanuel Hanert, and Paul (Mitch) Harris

Project Objectives:

  • Deploy a neural network to identify whitings in daily MODIS ocean-color imagery over timescales of decades.
  • Examine the whiting record for seasonal and multi-year trends and explore their controls.
  • Develop an understanding of the variability of non-skeletal mud production through time and its influence on platform-top sedimentology.

 



     

WHITINGS PROJECT PART II: CONSTRAINING THE CHEMISTRY OF INIMICAL WATERS ON GREAT BAHAMA BANK

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File Size:431KB

 

Investigators: Amanda M. Oehlert, Sam Purkis, Heather Hunter, Peter K. Swart, Thomas Dobbelaere, Emmanuel Hanert, and Paul (Mitch) Harris

Project Objectives:

  • Evaluate the impact of variable geochemistry of waters from the Straits of Florida on lime mud formation on Great Bahama Bank.
  • Refine numerical models of aragonite saturation in the Whitings Zone.
  • Examine spatial trends in stable isotope and trace element geochemistry of carbonate muds on Great Bahama Bank.
  • Assess the role of ‘inimical waters’ on whitings formation.


     

SEDIMENTOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF INIMICAL WATERS ON SHALLOW MARINE PLATFORMS: A GEOCHEMICAL PERSPECTIVE

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Investigators: Colleen Brown, Sam Purkis, and Amanda M. Oehlert

Project Objectives:

  • Isolate geochemical signatures of coral fragments, crustose coralline algae (CCA), and surrounding sediments.
  • Quantify geochemical signatures including; δ13Ccarb, δ18O, δ13Corg, δ15Norg, total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen, concentrations of phosphorus, trace metals, and rare earth elements.
  • Assess covariation between δ13Ccarb and δ13Corg in reef rimmed settings. 
  • Discuss the impact of inimical water formation on the sedimentology, geochemistry, and margin development of shallow marine carbonates.

 



     

RATES OF INTERTIDAL FACIES-BELT MIGRATION FROM TIME- SEPARATED REMOTE SENSING

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Investigators: Mingyue Wu and Sam Purkis

Project Objectives:

  • To employ time-separated remote sensing to quantify rates of facies migration over multiple decades in the Andros tidal-flats of Great Bahama Bank.
  • To explore the geological implications of facies dynamics on subsurface analogs.

 



     

A GEOMODEL FOR SUBSURFACE KARST

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Investigators: Lisa Tanh, Michael Zeller, Fabio Lapponi, Gregor P. Eberli, and Sam Purkis

Project Objectives:

  • To develop a geomodel of karst occurrence calibrated from a doline analysis from the Nullarbor Plain, Australia.
  • To populate the geomodel with additional examples of karstified areas, both modern and subsurface, i.e. Spain and Yucatan.
  • To apply the geomodel to a subsurface example using extracted seismic attributes such as faults, fractures, and seismically-resolvable dolines.

 



     

CARBONATE CONTOURITE DRIFT SYSTEMS – TYPES, DIMENSIONS AND THEIR IMPORTANCE IN DEEP WATER PLAYS

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Investigators: Gregor P. Eberli and Sara Bashah

Project Objectives:

  • Continue assembling a data base of carbonate contourite systems that includes their dimensions and sedimentary characteristics.
  • Use data base for a comprehensive overview of carbonate contourite drift systems.
  • Evaluate current-related erosion and deposition with regard to reservoir and seal capacity.


     

TIMING AND COMPOSITION OF CONTOURITE DRIFTS ON THE MARION PLATEAU, NE AUSTRALIA - IMPLICATIONS FOR CARBONATE PLATFORM ARCHITECTURE

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Investigators: Sara Bashah and Gregor P. Eberli

Project Objectives:

  • Relate composition, shape, and dimension of various drift deposits on the Marion Plateau to current processes.
  • Investigate the timing of the onset of the East Australian Current based on the contourite drift deposits on the Marion Plateau.
  • Assess the relative importance of oceanographic factors relative to sea level and tectonics on the evolution of carbonate platforms.


     

SEISMIC STRATIGRAPHY OF THE YUCATAN PLATFORM

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Investigators: Elizabeth Guzman and Gregor P. Eberli

Project Objectives: 

  • Assess the tectonic deformation of the Cretaceous portion of the Yucatan Platform.
  • Map the seismic sequences in the intraplatform seaway of the Yucatan Platform.
  • Place the evolution of the Yucatan Platform into the regional context of Caribbean tectonics.


     

TOWARDS A DEPOSITIONAL MODEL OF COARSE-GRAINED DELTA DRIFT DEPOSITS, MAIELLA, ITALY

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Investigators: Gregor P. Eberli, Mark Grasmueck, and Ralf J. Weger

Project Objectives: 

  • Test the hypothesis that stratal succession of the delta drift in the Maiella is the combined product of hyperpycnal flow originating from the semi-continuous current flowing through the feeder channel and supercritical flow in the adjacent basin.
  • Visualize the distribution of clasts in 3D to better elucidate erosion and transport mechanisms.
  • Document the proximal to distal facies trends within the delta drift of the Maiella and assess the flow conditions necessary for producing the observed facies distribution.


     
 

 

 

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