AAPG Middle East Region Geoscience Technology Workshop, Rift Basin Evolution and Exploration

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Forward Stratigraphic Modelling in Rift Basins: An Investigation of Tectonic Rates Controlling Sedimentation


Exploration in rifting basins faces numerous industrial and scientific challenges as these basins can exhibit various depositional environments, stratigraphic and structural settings. The extreme heterogeneous facies and geometry that they present can be difficult to image and interpret even using up-to-date seismic data. Forward stratigraphic modelling (FSM) can be a solution to fully understand the role of the tectonics on the stratigraphy within these complex rift basins. FSM can predict geometry, facies and thickness of geo-bodies while assessing the complex interaction between accommodation, sediment supply and transport through a combined simulation of sedimentary processes. Following the FSM principles, DionisosFlow is a deterministic process-based tool that reproduces the interactions between the main mechanisms driving sedimentation and can be used in rift environment. A series of numerical simulations were performed using the DionisosFlow stratigraphic model to simulate sedimentological processes through geological time under several different tectonic deformation rates using several subsidence maps. All other variables were kept constant during the simulations in order to test the hypothesis that the tectonic evolution of basin substratum alone can produce different patterns that can be found in sedimentary records. Furthermore, we illustrate several forward stratigraphic results with bibliographic research on regional studies in different actual and past rift basins. Our results suggest that relatively simple diffusion-based models can produce realistic results in rift basin environment where tectonic deformation rate can have a strong influence on the heterogeneity of the sedimentary model.