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Application of Expert Systems Techniques for Sedimentary Basin Analysis

Betty M. Miller

The U.S. Geological Survey is currently involved in a research program to explore the feasibility of applying expert systems and knowledge acquisition techniques (specialties in the field of artificial intelligence) to the design and construction of a global system of sedimentary basin analysis. The first phase of a comprehensive expert systems approach includes the design and integration of regional geologic basin models and detailed basin analysis techniques into a computer system capable of incorporating large data files and graphic input and output. This basin analysis program also will access an integrated computer satellite system that will provide a suite of resource assessment methods used to estimate the remaining undiscovered resources of a variety of energy and mineral commodities whose origins are within sedimentary basins. The primary objective in this first phase of the investigation is to design for the microcomputer a prototype expert system that will help the geologist to understand and to reconstruct the geologic evolution of a sedimentary basin and ultimately to assess its energy and mineral resources.

The basic strategy uses expert systems techniques to design and develop a basin analysis program emphasizing the evolution of a sedimentary basin through the documentation of its major components, as expressed by its stratigraphy, structural geology, and sedimentology. Previous work by the author on the design of sedimentary basin models, as a part of the muPETROL program that uses expert systems techniques for classifying world basins, is incorporated into the BASIN ANALYSIS EXPERT SYSTEMS PROGRAM (BA/ESP). This work is the first stage in analyzing the regional geologic framework and tectonic history and is preliminary to the detailed sedimentary basin analysis.

Special efforts are being directed in the design of BA/ESP to use the capabilities of an expert system to access (1) a variety of available computer data bases (i.e., well data bases, stratigraphic data files, log files, etc) and (2) satellite computer systems that perform various integrated tasks (i.e., computer programs written in FORTRAN, or other computer languages, for geological interpretation and quantitative assessment of energy and mineral resources, such as the frequently noted "play-analysis system").

The initially developed prototype expert system, BA/ESP, is to be used on an IBM-PC-XT personal computer and will run with the Knowledge Engineering System II (KESII) expert systems program. This system would be available to the basin geologist who has access to a personal computer.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.