AAPG Middle East Region Geoscience Technology Workshop

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Structural Styles in the Middle East: How Sandbox Models Support their Understanding and Interpretation

Abstract

Broadly interrelated assemblages of geologic structures, folds and faults, constitute the fundamental structural styles of petroleum provinces (Harding and Lowell, 1979). There are unique criteria which identify structural styles. Skilled interpreters or structural geologists recognize structural style unconsciously, from a combination of characteristics, such as important differences in fault trend arrangements and structural morphologies. By using all the information inherent in the seismic data, and bearing in mind the limitations imposed by aliasing, resolution and data quality, identification of structural styles can be made more rigorous. Analogue models have been routinely used to help the recognition and the interpretation of structural styles as well as defining the fundamental mechanism which led to the past and present-day faults and folds geometries. 4D elements The presentation will cover structural styles, around the tectonic spectrum, across the Middle East, for Pre-Cambrian to Tertiary in age deformation phases. We will illustrate how sandbox have been used to support the structural style interpretation and kinematics understanding with examples varying from compression to strike-slip to extension, with examples of basement rooted and detached deformation. These examples will cover amongst others the recognition of sense of strike-slip deformation thanks to the famous Riedel shear formation, inferred normal from the use of detached transtensional experiments, simultaneous conjugate faulting in detached transtension associated with the emplacement of the Semail Ophiolites, the relation between fault patterns and salt dome geometries, the formation of reverse faults inside salt domes and the impact of mechanical stratigraphy on vertical fault.