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Seismic Stratigraphy - 3 hours

Christopher Juhlin
christopher.juhlin@geo.uu.se

Goals of the course


1. Acquaint the student with the basics of seismic resolution 2. Understand the principles of seismic stratigraphy 3. Acquaint the student with the basics of geophysical wireline logging

Literature
Emery D. and Myers K. J.: Sequence Stratigraphy, Blackwell Science, 1996 (3 copies in library) Nichols G.: Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Blackwell Science, 1999 For additional relevant literature see: http://www.geofys.uu.se/cj/seis_strat/literature.html

Reading assignment
Chapters 2 and 3 in Emery and Myers Chapter 22 in Nichols

Notes
Notes for the lecttures available online at www.geofys.uu.se/cj/seis_strat/notes/pdf/seis_strat_notes_web.pdf

Homework
A homework assignment will be given at the end of the lectures. Answers can be found on www.geofys.uu.se/cj/seis_strat/notes/pdf/seis_strat_hw.pdf

Introduction

"Together with its offspring sequence stratigraphy, it is acknowledged as being among the most significant developments of the earth sciences in the last 30 years" (from Emery and Myers, 1996) "The key message is that the correlative impedance contrasts represented on seismic data come from bedding interfaces and not lateral facies changes" (from Emery and Myers, 1996)

Lecture outline

Data acquisition Basic theory Interpretation Geophysical wireline logging

Data acquisition

Seismic data acquisition at sea

Seismic data acquisition on land

At sea airguns are used to generate seismic waves

Streamers of hydrophones are used to record the vibrations at sea

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On land explosives or mechanical sources are used

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Geophones are used on land to record the vibrations

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The recorded seismic data are processed to generate images of the sub-surface in 2D or 3D

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Topography of a seismic reflection using 3D seismics

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Small scale 3D seismic data acquisition

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Detailed 3D images

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Theory

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Symbols used

- wavelength v - velocity f - frequency T - period f=1/T z- depth x- horizontal direction

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Amplitude and Period


Period

m/s
Amplitude

S Arrival time

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Wave velocity
elasticity module v= density 4 k 3 P wave: v p = S wave: v s =

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Factors influencing seismic velocity

Temperature Pressure Lithology Grain packing Porosity Cementation Fluid composition Micro-fracturing

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Reflection coefficient
2 v 21 v 1 Z 2 Z 1 R= = 2 v 21 v 1 Z 2 Z 1
Incoming wave

Z1= 1 v1 Z2= 2 v2

In general, most of the energy is transmitted Sign of the reflection coefficient is dependent upon how the underlying equations are set up

Reflected wave Transmitted wave

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Vertical resolution

Defined as our ability to see closely spaced beds Measured as a fraction of the wavelength using the following relations =v/f <= wavelength of the seismic signal Resolution limit, R = /4 Zones thinner than R cannot be resolved, that is the thickness and the reflection coefficients of the layer cannot be determined

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Example - Vertical resolution

v=5000 m/s f=100 Hz R=12.5 m Note that if we know our source function well and we have high quality data this limit can be pushed lower

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Detection limit

Note that the resolution limit is not the same as the detection limit Zones or layers much thinner than R may be detected by the reflection seismic method The detection limit depends on what acquisition parameters were employed and on the quality of the data A detection limit of D= /30 is reasonable

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Example -Detection limit

v=5000 m/s f=100 Hz D 2 m

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Seismic trace display

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Migration

Locates reflecting interfaces in their correct spatial position Collapses diffractions to points Restores the amplitudes of the reflecting horizons to correspond to the their impedance contrast Above are valid if the velocity and dimension (2D or 3D) of the media are known

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Time section

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Migrated section

Horizontal reflector maintains its lateral position. The other reflectors migrate updip.

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Convolution (*)

Input: Seismic wave (source) Filter: Earth Output: Seismogram

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Velocity model to seismogram

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Example - vertical resolution based on maximum frequency content

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Interpretation

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Depositional cycles

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Example from offshore Norway

Channels
250-300m

Jurassic

Triassic

Early Cretaceous Knurr Sand St. Turbidity lobes

(Modified from Reading and Richards, 1994)

Basic units and boundaries

Marking up a seismic section

Determine horizontal and vertical scales Identify multiples and other noise Divide data into discrete natural stratigraphic packages by marking reflection terminations Identify seismic surfaces Perform above steps on next line

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What are the vertical and horizontal distances?

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Reflection terminations

Lapout: lateral termination of a reflector at its depositional limit Truncation: reflector cut by a geological feature Baselap: lapout of reflections against an underlying seismic surface

Downlap: underlying surface dip < overlying strata Onlap: underlying surface dip > overlying strata

Toplap: termination of inclined reflectors against an overlying lower angle surface

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Erosional truncation

Termination of strata against an overlying erosional surface More extreme than toplap Implies the development of erosional relief or an angular unconformity

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UPPER BOUNDARY
Truncation Toplap Apparent truncation

Onlap (coastal)

Fault truncation Downlap Onlap (marine) Downlap

LOWER BOUNDARY

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Downlap

Normally seen at the base of prograding clinoforms Usually represents the progradation of a basinmargin slope system into deep water A change from slope deposition to condensation or non-deposition Very difficult to generate downlap in a non-marine environment

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Onlap

Marine

Represents a change from marine deposition to marine non-deposition or condensation Reflects a change from high deposition rates to lower Cannot be used to study relative sea-level changes Represents a change from a zone of deposition to basin-margin erosion and non-deposition Landward progression -> rising relative sea-level Basinward progression -> falling relative sea-level

Coastal

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Toplap

Marginal marine setting

Represents a change from slope deposition to non-marine or shallow marine bypass or erosion Toplap surface is an unconformity Represents, most likely, a marine erosion surface This surface is localized and rarely flat over large areas

Deep marine setting

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Truncations

Erosional truncation Apparent truncation Fault truncation

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Apparent truncation

Termination of relatively low angle seismic reflections beneath a dipping seismic surface, where the surface represents marine condensation Represents a distal depositional limit or thinning below seismic resolution Many reflection terminations in marine strata are apparent due to the limits of seismic resolution

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Fault truncation

Represents the termination of reflections against a syn- or post-depositional fault, slump, glide or intrusion plane Termination against a relict fault scarp in not truncation, but onlap

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Condensed section

Characterized by extremely low rates of deposition and the development of condensed facies such as glauconitic, organic rich and/or phospatic shales, or pelgaic carbonates

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Examples of onlap, toplap and downlap


Onlap Truncation

Toplap

Onlap

Downlap
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Seismic facies mapping

Reflection geometry Continuity Amplitude Frequency Interval velocity 3D association of reflection groups

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Coastal onlap

Topsets

Sea-level Offlap break Clinoforms

Bottomsets

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Topset-clinoform structure

Criteria to identify

Clear offlap break Topset reflections are concordant and parallel

Some sedimentary units may have a similar geometry, but will not meet the above criteria Clinoform geometry is the only seismic facies that gives a clear link directly to depositional system Normally need to calibrate with well control

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Topset-clinoform package

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Topset geometry may indicate

Alluvial plain Coastal plain Paralic (lagoon or littoral) environment Shelf

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Flat-lying reflections may indicate

Deep-marine shales Coastal-plain topsets Alluvial plain Lacustrine facies

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Stratigraphic surfaces

Sequence boundaries Transgressive surfaces Maximum flooding surfaces Marine onlap/downlap surfaces

Separates the lowstand systems tract into


Lowstand edge Lowstand fan

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Sequence boundaries

Recognized in two ways

1) Development of a high relief truncation surface 2) Downward shift in coastal onlap across the boundary 30 ms relief -> topography = vt/2 = 30 m if v=2000 m/s 100 ms relief -> 100 m change in sea level
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Example of (1) in figure 3.7

Example of (2) in figure 3.7

High relief truncation surface

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Coastal onlap across a boundary

Offlap break Lowest topset

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Transgressive surfaces

Mark

End of lowstand progradation Onset of transgression

Need not be associated with any reflection terminations Will mark the boundary

Topset- clinoform interval / only topsets

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Maximum flooding surfaces

Recognized by

Clinoforms downlap on to underlying topsets May display backstepping and apparent truncation

Not every downlap surface is a maximum flooding surface

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Marine downlap surfaces

Important surface is the top lowstand fan Occurs at the base of the clinoforms of the lowstand prograding wedge Facies below this downlap surface are basinal deposits

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Marine onlap surfaces

Should be able to correlate marine onlap surfaces landward, into a basin-margin setting and identify them as one of:

Sequence boundary Transgressive surface Maximum flooding surface Top lowstand fan surface

Not always possible to correlate, particularly in retrogradational settings

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Lowstand systems tract

Bounded below by a sequence boundary Bounded above by a transgressive surface

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Lowstand example

Transgressive surface ?

Sequence boundary

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Another lowstand example


Clinoform unit Transgressive surface Sequen ce bounda ry Fan unit
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Transgressive systems tracts

Bounded below by a transgressive surface Bounded above by a maximum flooding surface Consist of retrograde topset parasequences Often very thin and may contain only a single reflection

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Transgressive systems tract example

Mainly topsets in the tract Internal retrograde structure Maximum flooding surface surface Downlap Coal Coal

Transgressive unit

Transgressive surface
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Highstand systems tract

Bounded below by a maximum flooding surface Bounded above by a sequence boundary Have progradational geometries

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Highstand systems tract example

Consists of prograding topsets and clinoforms Apparent truncation at maximum flooding surface surface

Sequence boundary

Highstand unit

Downlap Maximum flooding surface surface

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Interpretation pitfalls

Seismic data have relatively low resolution compared to outcrop and core data Systems tracts may be missing along some seismic lines

Lowstand fans

All seismic surfaces identified by reflection termination may not be sequence boundaries

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Interpretation pitfalls (continued)

Confusion of marine with coastal onlap


Coastal onlap confined to topset reflections Topsets are parallel and lie landward of offlap break Fluvial incision -> a sequence boundary

Confusion of fluvial incision and marine canyons

Determination of the downlap surface in a clinoform succession

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Geophysical wireline logging

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Wireline logs allow

Lithology and depositional environment to be placed on the seismic section Linking of seismic facies, rock properties and sedimentological facies The above are non-trivial tasks Generally requires closely spaced boreholes and core

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Wireline logs versus core

Advantages of wireline logs


Continuous record through the rock Direct measurement of physical properties Lower resolution

Disadvantages

With modern wireline tools resolution is increasing dramatically

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Wireline logs versus outcrop

Advantages of wireline logs


Continuous record through the rock Direct measurement of physical properties Can be tied directly to seismic data Lower resolution 1D measurement

Disadvantages

With modern wireline tools resolution is increasing dramatically

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Common logs used

Gamma ray <- Most common Sonic SP (Spontaneous potential) Density-neutron combination Resistivity

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Gamma-ray

Measures radioactivity of the formation Generally a direct function of the clay mineral content -> grain size and depositional energy Exceptions

Coals: low gamma, but no sand Arkosic sandstones: high gamma from feldspars Sandstones with heavy minerals: high gamma

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Clinoforms log response

Cleaning upwards pattern -> shallowing Base of cleaning up pattern -> downlap surface Often a high gamma shale or a cemented horizon at the base Two units are usually present

Highstand prograding wedge Lowstand prograding wedge

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Parasequences

Topset

Repeated cycles of filling of accommodation space between the offlap break and the coastal onlap point Cleaning upwards Often topped by coal beds Marine flooding surfaces show an abrupt increase in gamma reading

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