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Fracture Characterization on Virtual Outcrop Model of Mississippian Boone Formation


Petroleum geoscientists have been using cores and well logs to study source and reservoirs rocks, however, the inherent discontinuous nature of these data cannot account for horizontal heterogeneities. Modern exploitation requires better understanding of important source rocks and reservoirs at outcrop scale. Remote sensing of outcrops is becoming a first order tool for reservoir analog studies. This work used ground-based hyperspectral imaging, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), and high-resolution photography to study a roadcut of the Boone Formation at Bella Vista, Benton County, northwest Arkansas, and built an outcrop model for petroleum analog analyses. The Boone Formation consists of coarse-grained fossiliferous and fine-grained limestones interbedded with nodular and bedded chert of early Mississippian age with a shelf margin environment. It is a producing reservoir rock in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas. We used hyperspectral imaging to identify rock types, and TLS to collect 3D geometrical data of the outcrop, and digital camera with robotic control to capture very high resolution panoramic photography to aid data interpretation. Mixture tuned matched filtering classification of hyperspectral data show that the outcrop are mostly limestones with some interbedded chert nodules. 1315 manually extracted fractures were classified according to their strata-bounding relationships, among these the larger fractures are dominantly striking in NEE – SWW directions, whereas smaller fractures are dominantly striking in NNW – SSE and NEE – SWW directions. It is inferred that the strata were initially fractured during the early Pennsylvanian Ouachita - Appalachian orogenic event, and some fractures in NEE – SWW orientations were reactivated and linked together into larger fractures during the continuation of upthrusting of the Coastal Plain and clockwise rotation of the Ozark Plateau. Utilizing several ground-based remote sensing techniques, we have built a virtual outcrop model, and extracted mineralogical composition as well as tectonic imprints from the model. These data are beneficial in analogs to infer rock mechanics as well as anisotropic permeability, and to improve well performances.