About Us

WorldWind (left) and QuickBird (right) satellite imagery has major applications for regional geological mapping and survey planning.

Integrated Tectono-Sedimentary Syn-Rift Analogues Research

The aim of this consortium project is to further investigate the structural evolution and syn-rift stratigraphic development in extensional basins. The Suez Rift is an exceptional analogue for understanding the complex interplay between syn-rift structural evolution and sedimentary response. A major focus of this study therefore is the integrated structural and stratigraphic analysis of two important fault blocks in Suez, the Hammam Faruan and El Qaa tilted fault blocks. This research is built upon the extensive field experience and esteemed publication record of the principal researchers in the Suez Rift.

The group aims to document the structural compartmentalisation and syn-rift reservoir distribution, geometry and heterogeneity that results from growth, interaction and linkage of normal fault segments during the formation of tilted fault blocks. Such phenomena include: growth of fault segments and along-strike changes in structural style, changes in structural style associated with fault propagation, structural controls on syn-rift stratal geometry, sediment dispersal, reservoir location and geometry.

Data collection for this study involves both traditional field based techniques and novel digital surveying approaches (satellite remote sensing, GPS and terrestrial LIDAR). The modern technologies of DGPS and LIDAR provide detailed spatial and geometrical information that can be used to measure and map even small scale sedimentary architectures, fault systems and other subtle features over large areas. Field study for this project involves the collection of quantitative 3D structural and sedimentological data of selected syn-rift reservoir analogues in specific structural settings. Using these approaches it is viable to create a digital portfolio of quantitative analogues for syn-rift outcrop settings world wide.

Digital outcrop surveying using DGPS, digital photography and LiDAR high definition surveying. The image on the right displays the LIDAR system in operation. From top: GPS antenna, Nikon digital camera, Riegl LMS-Z420i laser scanner mounted on surveyors tripod and operated from a Panasonic ToughBook.

The Rift's research group is closely involved with the Digital Outcrop Analogues Research Group of The University of Manchester. This leading group is involved in the development of new approaches and applications of digital outcrop surveying. These include the development of in-house softwares such as VRGS (Virtual Reality Geological Studio) for analysing and interpreting 3D outcrop and traditional field data. This interactive software includes tools such as rose diagrams, stereonets and digital logs enabling the true integration of traditional field and digital outcrop data. The orientation of sedimentary and structural features can be measured directly from the LIDAR data and outcrop logs can be linked directly to the point cloud. VRGS also includes real time GPS tracking to orientate and position 3D outcrop models while in the field as an aid to integrated data collection. Currently in development is the facility to take advantage of immersive visualization environments and desktop stereo visualization.

3D Modelling, Visualisation and Interpretation Laboratory

The Rift's group has access to facilities at The University of Manchester including 3D outcrop modelling, seismic, petrophysical and engineering work stations as well as extensive laboratory expertise and software to address basin and reservoir research problems. Digital outcrop data analysis and data interpretation can now be undertaken in the University of Manchester’s new 3D Modelling, Visualisation and Interpretation Laboratory using a variety of proprietary software including Petrel and ER Mapper.

A major pre-requisite for successful hydrocarbon development strategy relies on a full and accurate understanding of the producing reservoir. This requires knowledge about the reservoirs internal 3D architecture. The models derived from these techniques are applicable to geological validation of seismic interpretation ahead of the drill, and the resultant quantitative datasets can be used to develop deterministic 3D reservoir models and provide geostatistical information for the specific syn-rift plays studied.

Banner: These images show the development of a three-dimensional reservoir model derived from digital outcrop data and include: the interpretation of key stratigraphic horizons; structural information including dip lines, a fault model and surface geometry; a modelled erosional truncation surface and a zone model.

The Rifts Project is managed by a steering commitee comprising the principal investigators and representatives from sponsoring companies ConocoPhilips and Statoil.

Contact us

If you have any specific queries, questions or comments about the The Rift Analogues Project

Please contact:

Dr Dave Hodgetts

If you wish to contact individual researchers associated with The Rift Analogues Project please visit the TRAP People webpage.

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