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Global Satellite Facies Mapping: Modern Carbonates Revealed!

Hicks, Melissa 1; Kaczmarek, Stephen E.1; Fullmer, Shawn 1; Steffen, Kelley 1; Hensley, Tabitha 2; Miles, Lizbeth 2
1 URC, ExxonMobil, Houston, TX.
2 EMEC, ExxonMobil, Houston, TX.

Prediction of facies distributions in ancient carbonate rocks is essential for accurate evaluation of reservoir-scale heterogeneity and identification of exploration-scale play fairways. Creation of new high-resolution facies maps has led to a better understanding of environment of deposition distribution and biotic variations within modern carbonate systems. Field campaigns to generate facies maps can encounter logistical issues and are time and resource intensive. In this study, LandSat 7 satellite images (28.5m resolution), spectral analyzing software, and sediment sampling were used to create facies maps of carbonate environments globally. Notable uplift from this type of study includes insight into predictive processes and improved construction of reservoir models. Regions included in the study are the Little Bahamas Bank, the Great Bahamas Bank, Caicos (BWI), Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Glovers and Chinchorro (Belize), the Maldives, the Great Barrier Reef, and parts of the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea and South East Asia.

We specifically focused on mapping modern carbonates in a variety of structural, climatic, and hydrodynamic regimes. As a result, the study includes isolated platforms, attached rims, and ramps that are in macrotidal and microtidal regimes and tropical, subtropical, and arid climates. Study regions also represent active and passive margins, open ocean settings and marginal seas. The poster 1) describes our methodology and important caveats, 2) illustrates the satellite-derived facies maps, and 3) provides initial conclusions on the range of facies distributions and linkages to hydrodynamic regime, wind direction, antecedent topography, and platform size; in which we recognize that these controls are variably interrelated and may behave in non-linear ways. The results suggest that remote sensing techniques may provide an efficient means for understanding lateral facies variability in modern carbonate environments and, in turn, ancient carbonate reservoirs.


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