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LiDAR-XRF Constrained Forward Seismic Model of McKittrick Canyon Shelf Slope: High-Resolution Into its Sequence Stratigraphy and Insight Into Interpretation of Seismic Profiles of the Permian Subsurface


Outcrop scale analytical models, while exceeding conventional reflection seismic resolution, provide the detail necessary for crafting appropriate proxies for pragmatic subsurface well to seismic sequence stratigraphic correlation. Such analyses are particularly insightful within massive carbonate-shale accumulations in the Permian Basin. An integration of outcrop measurements of LiDAR, Spectral Gamma Ray, XRF, Schmidt Hammer, and bulk density was conducted on transects on and perpendicular to the McKittrick Canyon North Wall. Preliminary results indicate: 1. Following processing and the application of a series of filters to remove vegetation cover, LiDAR reflectivity values correspond to lithology mixes, where increasing reflectivities indicate decreasing terrigenous siliciclastic content and increasing limestone-dolomite content. 2. Spectral Gamma ray analyses conducted at 5 ft intervals reveal high resolution parasequence discriminations which can be articulated into four main parasequence sets in terms of the response of abundance of Uranium, Thorium and Potassium: High Stand Systems Tracts, Regressive Systems Tracts, Lowstand Systems Tracts, and Transgressive Systems Tracts. 3. X-ray Fluorescence spectrometry output of trace elements reveal provenance proxies which confirm reciprocal sedimentation while the oxidation proxies can vary independently from Delaware sea level changes. 4. A refined high-resolution sequence stratigraphic framework with five fourth-order sequences, fifteen high-frequency cycles sets, and twenty possible high-frequency cycles is established to better refine the stratigraphic boundaries in forward seismic model. 5. Schmidt hammer results coupled with the bulk density measurements allow an assessment of indirect measure of Vp for forward seismic model construction. 6. The forward seismic model played out in a variety of frequency band widths and seismic attributes present notable characteristic of seismic response of slope-to-basin deposit including strength variation and polarity shift of reflections, and high frequency sea level caused depositional architecture. These preliminary observations reveal the value of the novel integration of these tools for increased information and resolution of complex cycles of carbonate sequence stratigraphy in the Permian subsurface. Besides, this inventive method provides, when constrained with outcrop sequence stratigraphy, a proxy model for improved subsurface seismic stratigraphic interpretation of Capitanian shelf development.