Data Collection, Interpretation, and Geologic Modeling of Outcrop: Cerro La Molata, Cabo de Gata, Spain
Gregory S. Benson¹, Evan K. Franseen², Robert H. Goldstein², and Zhaoqi Li²
¹ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co., Houston, TX, USA
²University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA
Beginning geologic modeling students are taught early in their curriculum that geologic modeling software does not know anything about geology. In most cases, it is very likely that the final geomodel will not be useful unless the modeler has enforced geologic concepts via controlled horizon gridding, hierarchical property dependencies, intelligently selected dialog settings, and geologically reasonable conditioning methods.
This paper describes building an outcrop-based geomodel, including the preparation of LiDAR data for interpretation and horizon correlation between described sections in geomodeling software, creating time-equivalent model layers, use of reconstructed elevation pinning points to define paleobathymetry, and the geospatial analysis of depofacies distribution. We present the use of LiDAR outcrop scanning data to produce a photorealistic interpretable virtual outcrop, techniques to constrain extrapolation of horizon picks away from the outcrop face, and methods of enforcing paleobathymetric controls on depofacies distribution within time-equivalent model layers. We discuss the importance of maintaining comparability of flow simulation results between analog models to understand the separate effects of deposition, diagenesis, and deformation on fluid flow in carbonates. This work was part of the ExxonMobil-sponsored Fundamental Controls on Flow in Carbonates academic alliance.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #120034©2012 AAPG Hedberg Conference Fundamental Controls on Flow in Carbonates, Saint-Cyr Sur Mer, Provence, France, July 8-13, 2012