Henry W. Posamentier1
(1) Atlantic Richfield Indonesia, Plano, TX
Seismic stratigraphy may be defined as the study of stratigraphy using seismic data. Analysis of stratigraphic architecture based on reflection terminations, and identification and mapping of seismic facies patterns as imaged on 2D seismic profiles, have long constituted the seismic stratigraphic approach. However, since then, especially during the last decade, there has been a virtual explosion of 3D seismic volumes. These data sets offer the potential for quantum leaps forward in the understanding of how basins fill. 3D data offer the potential for directly imaging discrete elements of entire depositional systems. Although seismic resolution decreases with depth, a broad range of depositional elements can nonetheless be imaged from the sea floor down to basement through analysis of a combination of seismic reflection and seismic interval attributes. Integration of 3D-based analyses of the spatial and temporal distribution of depositional systems with classical sequence stratigraphic concepts will elevate these concepts to the next higher level. Stratigraphic and geomorphologic insights derived from 3D seismic volumes will in some instances revolutionize and in some instances modify or confirm our understanding of how basins fill. In order to maximize the potential stratigraphic insights afforded by 3D data, the interpreter's required skill set must evolve from an understanding of stratigraphic architecture to an understanding of paleo-geomorphology and depositional systems. Some of the most useful images derived from 3D seismic volumes are observed in plan view and illustrate discrete landforms. The emphasis of seismic stratigraphy consequently will shift from exclusively identifying stratigraphic discontinuities and discrete seismic facies, toward direct identification of depositional elements that depend on plan view interpretations.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana