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Adam, Juergen1, Rolando di Primio2, Juliette Lamarche2, Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth2
(1) Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
(2) GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany

ABSTRACT: Integrated 4D Physical Simulation of Tectonic Processes and Hydrocarbon Dynamics in the Neogene Thrust Belt of Eastern Sicily

An integrated 4D physical modelling approach with coupled structural, physical and geochemical methods is used to investigate the burial history of source rocks, the hydrocarbon generation and migration in the complexly deformed Neogene thrust belt in Eastern Sicily.
Following the Afro-European plate collision, the 300 km broad African shelf, including source rocks at several stratigraphic levels, was progressively deformed and incorporated into the southward propagating thrust wedge. The thrust belt itself is mainly built of inverted rift-basin sediments, detached synorogenic turbidite beds and foredeep sediments. Variable accretion processes and multiphase thrusting resulted in a complex thrust architecture and deformation history that can not be directly observed in the field or adequately evaluated by straight-forward structural modelling techniques.
To mechanically simulate the structural evolution, tectonic flux and fault dynamics in the thrust wedge, we apply scaled analogue sandbox experiments. The strain history, fault kinematics and the burial history and migration pathways of source rocks are deduced by high-resolution digital imaging and optical strain monitoring techniques (PIV). The experimental data are used for the stepwise construction of more realistic structurally balanced sections as input for petroleum system modelling.
For the first time, the integration of 4D physical simulations with structural balancing techniques and basin modelling software allows the realistic modelling of HC generation and migration. This is essential for our understanding of hydrocarbon generation and migration in complexly deformed areas.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.