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Martinsen, Ole1, Tore M Loseth2, John Thurmond3, Trond Lien2, Xueming Xu3, Carlos Aiken3 
(1) Norsk Hydro Research Centre, N-5020 Bergen, Norway 
(2) Norsk Hydro ASA, Bergen, Norway 
(3) University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX

ABSTRACT: Beyond Outcrop Visualization: Building Reservoir and Depositional Models in a CAVE Environment

Digital mapping techniques open unprecedented possibilities for mapping surface geological features in the field. High- and low-resolution digital elevation models, orthomaps/aerial photography, very high-resolution LIDAR imaging and photorealistic models have rapidly become data types that are frequently used to achieve better data overview and feedback. However, these data are mostly utilized for visualization purposes and not properly combined with subsurface data to produce field-scale three-dimensional models of particular depositional environments. In addition, most outcrop data types need to be visualized on personal computers in two dimensions, where the spatial context is severely reduced. 
Photorealistic models (cm-scale terrain models of outcrops draped with high-resolution digital photography) can be combined with behind-the-outcrop subsurface data such as wells, shallow seismic and ground-penetrating radar to create a full three-dimensional depositional model. These data are imported into a CAVE environment, visualized and further processed into a decimeter-scale reservoir model. The CAVE environment, where the geologist is immersed in the data, is a key factor in full utilization and appreciation of the field data. Obvious sources of error, such as miscalculations of angles and thicknesses, distortions and misconceptions about sedimentary geometries are automatically eliminated. The combination of different data types in one environment gives direct information at cm-scale on upscaling issues, lithological calibration of seismic reflectors and enhances the understanding of depositional models. Examples are provided from Carboniferous deep-water deposits in County Clare, Ireland and Ainsa, Spain. There, reservoir models are built from both a variety of depositional geometries based on photorealistic models and behind-the-outcrop data.

 

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