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New Directions in Seismic Stratigraphy

Hart, Bruce 1
1 ConocoPhillips, Houston, TX.

Seismic stratigraphic concepts and methods were proposed in the mid 1970s and were later expanded to include well- and outcrop-based analyses (thereby giving rise to the science of sequence stratigraphy). Seismic stratigraphic analyses have traditionally focused on reflection geometries (terminations, facies, etc.), amplitudes and other criteria that might be used to reconstruct changes in sea level, tectonic movements and sediment supply, to make predictions about the distribution of lithologies away from existing well control, and to identify reservoir geometry and correlation styles. Well data (core, borehole logs) are commonly used to ground-truth lithologies at well locations, but in a qualitative manner. The advent of 3-D seismic data allowed stratigraphers to see plan-view images of depositional systems, greatly enhancing the interpretability of the seismically imaged strata. In parallel with advances in seismic and sequence stratigraphy, geophysicists developed a toolkit (inversion, seismic attribute studies, amplitude-variation-with-offset, spectral decomposition, etc.) that enables lithology and to be predicted away from well control. In practice, these types of geophysical analyses are commonly undertaken in parallel with or after conventional seismic stratigraphic analyses. Stratigraphers either do not seek or are not granted access to the results of the quantitative predictions, even though these predictions can be very useful for understanding depositional systems. In this talk I will argue that integrating quantitative seismic analyses is desirable and necessary to advance the field of seismic stratigraphy. Making this type of integration will require that sedimentary geologists improve their competencies in certain branches of physics and other fields, but similar challenges have been met previously.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009