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Mapping Deep Water Mass Transport Deposits from Color Seismic Processing

Andreas Laake
Geology, Inversion and Interpretation Advisor, WesternGeco Research and Development


Deep water mass transport deposits are complex in shape and internal composition. They originate from seafloor instabilities, which correlate with sedimentary and tectonic processes. Mapping and characterizing deep water mass transport deposits is a challenge with traditional geophysical methods because of rapid vertical and lateral lithological and depositional changes.

We have developed a method of structure-sharpened continuous red-green-blue (SRGB) color processing, which allows the interpreter to explore seismic data for geological features and to extract structures along horizons or geobodies in high vertical and lateral resolution. The method provides a visualization environment for the interpretation of geological objects in their spatial context. SRGB-textured horizons and geobodies offer an intuitive interpretation similar to the way satellite images provide information about the Earth's surface.

Using the SRGB method, seismic data can reveal details of channel-levee-overbank systems, which often represent local lateral and vertical seals. Regional layers originating from homogeneous precipitation, which form the bottom and top seals of these systems, are mapped using the correlation of SRGB color with lithology. The method is illustrated with turbidite examples from the Sigsbee Escarpment in the central Gulf of Mexico that ranges in depth from a few hundred meters to several thousand meters below the seafloor.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90204 © AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop, Stratigraphic Traps and Play Concepts in Deepwater Settings, May 14-15, 2014, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil