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Non-seismic Constraints in Structurally Complex Regions

Abstract

Understanding structurally complex regions with a sole geophysical method can pose some challenges, especially, when coupled with extensive igneous activity. Fold belt areas which involve reactivation of basement with high angle faults, detachment folds and out-of-sequence thin-skinned thrusts are difficult to image even with new seismic acquisition and processing techniques. The addition of non-seismic methods for exploration purposes have proven valuable in aiding interpretation, especially at deep basement levels. We present examples from structurally complex regions in Colorado and the Neuquén Basin, which combine the use of non-seismic techniques to help understand the hydrocarbon basin and its relationship with the basement. These examples integrate gravity and magnetic data with existing well and seismic data, as well as remote sensing data to help identify the shallow structure. An example from Colorado also includes airborne Electro-Magnetic (EM) data, along with ground Magnetotellurics (MT) data, which aid in identifying the overall basin architecture. The integration of these datasets are used to produce a series of 2D forward models, structural restorations are used as inputs where available, and 3D inversion models to help understand the structural complexities of the regions. This integrated interpretation approach, combining multi-physics and geological data analysis, provides a more robust understanding of the geology of a basin, especially in complex tectonic regions where seismic exploration can be challenging.