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Coleman, J. L.1
(1) Coleman Geological Services, Richmond, TX

ABSTRACT: Choosing the Right Analog

Choosing the “right analog” is as much science as art. Systematic rules can be applied, but in the end the question best answered is, “Does it look right?” Or, in our post-modern world, “Does it feel good?”
Left alone, our search for the right analog would be Zen-like, constantly searching for complete enlightenment through meditation and reflection on scientific and, I suppose, engineering phenomena. But we are not left alone, fortunately. Time and monetary constraints require us to seek quickly and accurately and return with our decision, interpretation, and application.
Geological knowledge, in itself, is a progressive collection of examples, experiences, technology and information applications (both successful and unsuccessful) coupled with theory and conceptual thought. The question, “What is the best analog for XXX?” is really “Have you ever seen anything that looks like what I am concerned about today?” We desire rapid access and retrieval of a large body of experiential knowledge, which will give us a selection of possible examples. These examples, then, need to be codifiable into some type of engineering context: numbers, with minimal uncertainty or range of probabilities.
Today’s catalogue of potential analogs does not necessarily imply that there is an analog for every situation. However, asking the right set of questions before the hunt begins can reduce the uncertainty involved in the hunt. Then the hunt can be undertaken in the most appropriate arena, with the probability of success much higher than just looking for everything anywhere.

 

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