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Use of Tank Experiment Data in Surface-Based Modeling

Abstract

Stochastic surface-based modeling approach describes complex stratigraphy based on placing geo-bodies (lobes in this study) with rules mimicking the depositional process. The rules are primarily extracted from field survey (seismic, well-log, well-testing). Sequentially generated lobes are placed at reasonable locations, which modifies intermediate topographic surface and affects the placement of following lobes. In most situations, intermediate topographic surfaces are eroded by following events and not maintained in real scale depositional systems. In this work, geomorphic experiments, small systems controlled and comprehensively recorded by scientists in laboratories, are proposed to be used as new knowledge database for extracting depositional rules. A geomorphic experiment is a simplified system that is difficult to be linked to a specific depositional basin with conventional method in stratigraphy (grain sizes, flow condition, etc.). However, linking the geomorphic experiment to a specific real scale basin where exploration and production are operated is of the real interest of the petroleum industry. We propose to link experiments and real scale systems based on statistical similarity of lobate stacking patterns. In the proposed method, a lobate stacking pattern is first quantified by cumulative distribution functions of pairwise proximity of lobes. Then, the statistical similarity between experimental stacking patterns and the real scale patterns are estimated by a bootstrap hypothesis test on cumulative distribution functions. Since stacking patterns in geomorphic experiments depend on the scale of interpretation, we also applied hierarchical clustering to measure variations of statistical similarity based on scale of interpretations. The method is applied to compare data from two different experiments (thanks to Chris Paola et. al. San Anthony Falls National Lab) and two field depositional systems and statistical similarity variation versus scale of interpretation in experimental data are quantified. Results prove that the method is capable of identifying a narrow range of scales in geomorphic experiments, in which the interpreted stacking pattern in an experiment is statistically more similar to a given real scale pattern than at other scales or from other experiments. Thus experimental patterns in the identified range can be used for extracting depositional rules applicable to the real scale basin.