High-Resolution Satellite Imagery as from Initial Exploration Tool - Examples from the Zagros Simply Folded Belt, Iran-Iraqi Kurdistan
Careful processing and analysis of remotely-sensed satellite data is an invaluable tool in delimiting potential trap structures in inaccessible regions. One such region is the Zagros Simply Folded Belt, extending NW-SE along the Persian Gulf, through Iran and into Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iranian Simply Folded Belt (SFB) is a well-known productive region and lessons learned from remote studies of these structures can be applied along strike in the frontier region of the Iraqi-Kurdistan Folded Belt (KFB).
Within the Simply Folded Belt, processing of Landsat-7 ETM images has been used to create false color images, highlighting lithological differences, from which geological maps can be generated. Analysis of lineaments in these images is used to generate fault and fracture maps, producing a suite of geological surface maps of a region close to the Kazerun Fault. In addition, analysis of structures using indices such as aspect ratio and symmetry is used to produce a map of structure type, dividing surface folds into those related to major thrusts and those formed principally by ductile processes. Lastly, analysis of drainage patterns and erosional features is used to understand the relative age of the structures. These maps indicate that the hingelines of NW-SE trending folds are considerably deflected by the influence of active basement faults (e.g. the Mand Anticline, adjacent to the Kazerun Fault) and that there is a distinct spatial organization to the different fold types.
Similar methods have been applied to structures in the Folded Belt of Iraqi-Kurdistan, the continuation of the SFB. This region is structurally similar to the Dezful Embayment region of the SFB and as such has a high potential for oil production. Initial analysis suggests that the structures in the KFB are dominantly thrust-related and are affected by a complex series of basement-related faults. Distinct hydrocarbon provinces and complex faulted trap structures should therefore be expected.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009