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Heterogeneous Gravity Data Combination for Geophysical Exploration Research — The Applications of the GOCE Satellite Data for Basin and Petroleum System Analysis in the Arabian Peninsula

Abdul Fattah, Rader *1; Meekes, Sjef 1; Boumans, Johannes 2; Schmidt, Michael 2; Ebbing, Jorg 3
(1) TNO, Utrecht, Netherlands. (2) DGFI, Munich, Germany. (3) NGU, Trondheim, Norway.

The GOCE satellite gravity mission was launched in 2009 to measures the gravity gradient with high accuracy and spatial resolution. GOCE data may improve the understanding and modeling of the Earth’s interior and its dynamic processes, contributing to gain new insights into the geodynamics and composition of the crust and the lithosphere.

In this study, the GOCE gravity gradients will be used in forward and inverse modeling in the Arabian Peninsula and the North-East Atlantic Margin. The data will be combined with other gravity data, e.g. from GRACE or terrestrial gravimetry. One of the outcomes of the Atlantic Margin study will be a sensitivity matrix that will be used as input to study the Arabian Peninsula with focus on the Rub Al-Khali desert. This is used to asses the maturity of the main source rock units in the region.

Gravity gradient data are generally sensitive to the density structure of the upper crust. It provides a better resolution of the edges of geological features (such as faults, lineaments and large intrusions). Gradient data from GOCE have the potential to identify the extent of different structures with varying densities in the lower crust in the Arabian Plate. Thus, it can help to identify density zonation in the basement and enhance structural boundaries within the crust on a regional scale (Terranes). Using the gravity anomaly maps obtained from GOCE data, in combination with land-measured gravity data, gravimetrical backstripping of the basin will be performed in order to identify basement inhomogeneity and Moho topography. The outcome of this phase is a model (thickness and composition) of the crust and the lithosphere in the study area. The gravity-based structural model is then used for modeling the basal heat flow within the basin using the grid-based stochastic tool (PetroProb) developed by TNO. The model is based on the inversion of basin subsidence data to calculate the tectonic subsidence in the area and the tectonic heat flow. It includes the radiogenic heat of the basement due to the effect of radiogenic elements in the crystalline basement. Different zonation in the basement can be assigned varying radiogenic element concentrations and thus varying heat flow contributions. The maturity of the source rocks in the basin is calculated based on the modeled heat flow. Regional maturity maps are produced of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic plays in the Arabian Peninsula. Here we present the preliminary results of this study.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90141©2012, GEO-2012, 10th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition, 4-7 March 2012, Manama, Bahrain